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January 1985 

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Ackno s lodgements 


An Explanatory Note 




TntrOi) uof ion 



Prelude to the Violence 



The Carnage 



Pattern : A Method in 

the Madness 



Nature of Violence 



Police Lawlessness 



Was it a 'Communal' Riot 7 


Annexure I 

FIR No. 174 or Mongolpuri Police 



Annexure II 

FIR No. 176 of Mongolpuri Police 



Annexure III 

FIR No. 250 of Sultanpuri Police 




A good deal of material has appeared in the Press on the large- 
scale rioting which took place in Delhi after the assassination of 
Mrs. Indira Gandhi. A very good report has also been published 
under the joint auspices of the People's Union For Democratic 
Rights and People's Union For Civil Liberties. The present 
report is the result of an extensive investigation carried out by a 
different set of social activists. It has the advantage of having been 

prepared when passions have cooled down and when the events 
could be considered in retrospect. 

Two lessons can be drawn from the experience of the Delhi 
riots. One is about the extent of criminalisation of our politics and 
the other about the utter unreliab lity of our police force in a critical 

Although there was a communal clement in the violence which 
erupted in Delhi after the tragic death of Mrs. 
could hardly be described as a communal riot. It was, in the first 
place, an entirely one-sided affair. The Sikhs did not play any 
aggressive role in the Delhi riots. They were always at the receiving 
end. They tried in a few cases to defend themselves, but the defence 
was wholly ineffective. On the other hand, there were a large 
number of Hindus in every locality who tiied to save their Sikh 
neighbours at considerable risk to themselves. The rioting cannot 
also be attributed, except marginally, to the feelings generated by 
the dastardly murder of a popular leader. As this report emphasises, 
no Sikh was killed in Delhi on October 31, 1984, although the pass- 
ing away of Mrs. Gandhi became known by about 10.30 A.M. on 
that day. It was on 1st November and the two succeeding days that 
a massacre of hundreds of Sikhs and the burning and looting of 
their shops and houses took place. The rioting was organised by a 
number of unscrupulous politicians who are habitually associated 
with anti-social elements and down-right criminals. That is the 
reason why looting was so extensive and why the killing of Sikhs 
was attended with unparalleled brutality. Scores of Sikhs in Delhi 
were literally burnt alive. It is for the top leaders of the ruling 

party to consider the ways and means by which the process of crimi- 
nalisation of politics within its ranks can be reversed. 

Complaints of police partiality were voiced after all the com- 
munal riots which took place in recent years. In the case of Delhi 
riots, however, the extent of police partiality exceeded all limits. 
Instead of trying to protect innocent victims, the police, except in a 
solitary instance, were either utterly indifferent or positively hostile 
to the Sikhs. The experience of the Delhi riots justifies the view 
that the law enforcement agency in the country has itself become, to 
a considerable extent, a lawless force. It is essential that the Govern- 
ment should devise and carry cut a long-range plan to convert the 
police force into a law-abiding and law-enforcing agency. 

The heinous offences which took place during the Delhi riots, 
including looting, arson and murder, were all perpetrated in broad 
daylight. Particulars of some of the offenders are well-known, and 
the names of many others can be found if a proper investigation is 
carried out. There is, however, a noticeable apathy in doing this 
work. Although over two and a half months have elapsed after the 
riot, not a single case against any offender appears to have been filed 
before any Delhi Magistrate. The Delhi Administration will be justly 
blamed if these heinous offences go unpunished. 

— V.M. Tarkunde 

New Delhi!:119. 1.1985 


We remember with great sorrow Dr. Alfred D' Souza, Director 
of Indian Social Institute, New Delhi, who passed away suddenly. 
His untimely death is a great loss to the democratic movement. We 
record our gratitude to him for his interest, guidance, encourage- 
ment in starting and continuing with this investigation. We are 
extremely thankful to Prof. Lotika Sarkar, Mr. Chanchal Sarkar, 
Dr. Jose Kannanaikal of the Indian Social Institute and Prof. Dalip 
S. Swamy, Head of the Deptt. of Business Economics, Delhi Uni- 
versity for their co-operation and suggestions in preparing this 
report. A large number of fiieids and organisations have helped in 
various valuable ways, namely Mrs. Nirmal, Messrs. Ashok Panda, 
Ranjan Dwivedi, Tejinder S.ngb, Laxmi Kant Gaur, K.M. Singh, 
Vishnu Gupta, Ashok Bharti, Rajat K. Das, Prem Chand, Nagrik 
Ekta Manch, students of Vidya Jyoti, numerous students of Delhi 
University and staff of Delhi University. 

We received immense assistance from the news and articles 
published in the Statesman, Indian Express, Jansatta, Times of India, 
Hindustan Times, Patriot, Surya India. We are grateful to various 
journalists who fearlessly repotted the news of the Delhi carnage. 


1. The names of all persons accused of having planned or 
executed or participated in the various incidents of vio- 
lence described in this Report have been withheld, except 
where they have been specifically mentioned in a FIR lodged 
at a police station or in an affidavit before a court of law. 
Wherever the names have not been disclosed, they have 
been substituted by cross-marks, i.e. xxxx. We are prepared 
to disclose all the names of the accused in the event of a 

2. The reference to castes and communities in the Report 
does not imply any prejudice or aspersion to them but 
merely constitutes a faithful record of the evidence given 
by the survivors relating to the identification of the 
assailants. Furthermore, this reference does not imply 
that all persons belonging to the specified castes and 
communities participated in the violence, rather that 
some of the persons who participated were identified by 
the victims as belonging to them. 

3. This Report mentions the "Nanaksar Report" in several 
places as one of the valuable sources of information. The 
"Nanaksar Report" "Nanaksar Report", sponsored by the 
Nagrik Ekta Manch, New Delhi, derives its name from the 
fact that it is based on interviews with inmates of the relief 
camp in Nanaksar Ashram located in the Trans-Yamuna 
area of the Capital. 


A number of voluntary organisations and responsible citizens 
made the following demands immediately after the violence : 

1. Immediate appointment of a judicial commission to en- 
quire into the role of the administrative machinery and of 
members of the ruling party in perpetrating this catas- 
trophe on the innocent Sikhs of Delhi ; 

2. Dcterrant punishment to all those found guilty ; 

3. Adequate compensation to and rehabilitation of widows 
and orphans and other victims ; 

4. Overhauling the police machinery with a view to make it 
a law-abiding force ; 

5. Restoration of the people's faith in the secular character 
of the State. 

We fully support the above demands. We place this report 
before the Nation so that justice may be done and shattered faith 
may be restored. 


On the recent violence in Delhi which continued unabated 
and unchecked for four long fearful days (October 31 to November 
3,1984), after the dastardly assassination of Mrs. Indira Gandhi, 
good reports and articles have already come out and are coming 
out. But many more investigative and analytical reports are 
required to obtain a fuller and more complete understanding of the 
enormity of the tragedy. 

Some of the reasons which prompted the writing of Ibis report 
were the stories— which were being circulated as facts and generally 
accepted as true. These said, to pick out a few : (i) the violence 
was purely communal— a Hindu versus Sikh affair, (ii) it was a 
spontaneous outburst of people's anger to teach the Sikhs a lesson, 
and (iii) the killing of the Sikhs had begun on the 3 1 st October 
itself, accompanied by all kinds of rumours, from celebration by 
Sikhs to poisoning of Delhi's drinking water, and arrival of Jhelurn 
Express filled with Hindu corpses. 

These were not at all true, but we realised that unless these 
were refuted with irrefutable evidence, the real truth that it was 
neither communal nor a spontaneous outburst of unbridled rage of 
the people but organised with the blessings of the party in power, will 
be lost. After interviewing hundreds of victims talking to several 
people who had gone through perhaps the worst communal violence 
in history during the partition of India and some police officials, 
even connivers with the killers, we have come to the conclusion that 
th e violence was not communal in character. One and all have given 
us to understand that it was sponsored by the Congress-I members 
and there was nothing communal about it. We have also gathered 
conclusive evidence of that involvement. 

As regards the spontaneity of the orgy, some people appeared 
to be angry and they did burn down a couple of Gurudwaras, 
damaged the property of the Sikhs and manhandled them but did 
not kill a single Sikh on 31st October. It is important to remember 
that in Delhi all this exhibil ion of people's anger v. as on the 3 1st 
October and in a restricted area round about the Al) India Institute 

of Medical Sciences where Mrs. Gandhi's body bad been kept. In 
the States also there was similar evidence of spontaneous outburst 
of emotion! againUonl. the 31st£ October but there was no killing of 
any Sikh on that day neither in the Congress-ruled Stales nor in the 
non-Congress States. Clearly people's anger had not reached such 
intensity as to bum a man alive and to gloat over his anguished 
cries or his burning flesh. It is amazing that the people's anger 
instead of going down, should have become intensified because 
everything began to happen from the morning of the next day, 
November 1. 

We have shown in this report that several meetings were held 
all over Delhi— Central, Outer and Trans- Yamuna area— in the late 
hours of the 3 1st October to give final touches, as it were, to the 
plan already prepared with meticulous care, with an eye to every 
minute detail that nothing was left out to successfully exterminate 
the Sikhs. It was as ft that brigades were going to attack an enemy 
territory. From collection of kerosene and incendiary material 
for dousing the men before they were burnt, to collection of killers 
both from villages outside the areas of attack as well as from among 
the more amenable i.eighbours ; from fixing the hour of attack to 
be launched simultaneously everywhere in Delhi in the forenoon 
between 9 ami 1 1 A.M. to organising the attack and deciding if it 
should be repetitive or two-pronged as in a war depending on the 
size of the mob ; from identifying the jhuggis and houses of the 
Sikhs from amongst the forest of jhuggis and houses occupied by 
thousands of non-Sikhs to disarming the Sikhs and dissuading them 
from taking out their Pi abb at Pheri ; from fixing the sequence 
of the targets of attack to floating the rumours— everything 
was done with amazing precision. Gurudwaras were first 
to be attacked in every area of Delhi according to the plans, 
because they were supposed to be the arsenals of Sikhs and also the 
symbol ol their collective faith and courage, so they had to be 
destroyed first. Once these places of worship were in ashes the 
Sikh houses were looted and set ablaze, then the men were first 
humiliated by cutting off their hair and shaving off their beard and 
finally they were delivered to the flames alive ; later their women 
were molested and raped and some were killed also. The rumours 
were floated in three distinct phases. On October 31, it was to 


excite and provoke the anger of the people against the Sikhs that the 
rumour was floated that they were rejoicing. Secondly, on November 
i, after Gurudwaras were burnt down and killing of the Sikhs had 
taken place, for preventing any sympathy, the second rumour 
was spread that the Sikhs had poisoned Delhi's drinking water 
supply. In the third phase, on November 2, since killings had to 
go on in the Resettlement Colonies, the rumour that the Jhelum 
Express had come from Punjab loaded with Hindu bodies was 

That there was an impeccable pattern according to which the 
violence erupted and that ihe mob like disciplined soldiers kept to 
that model and implicitly obeyed the direction of their masters, the 
Congress-I functionaries— we feel certain ; and all the evidence 
collected from various persons, voluntary agencies' reports and 
interviews also point to the same conclusion. 

We have also collected some valuable FIRs relating to the 
violence which were lodged by the police themselves at various Police 
Stations without mentioning the names of the culprits. These FIRs 

We feared that with the passing of time and the dispersal 
of refugees and other unforeseen events crowded in, many valuable 
facts will be irrecoverably lost and the desire to probe deep into 
the cause, the nature and the extent of the violence, so that one 
could reach atleast the fringe of the truth became compelling and 
so this report had to be completed. In fact the investigation had 
already started from the very first day of the violence and through 
various reports of eye witnesses, answers to questionnaires by victims 
as well as neighbours in 19 areas, several new facts came to light. 

With all this wealth of material, we have come to certain 
broad conclusions : — 

1. The violence was not spontaneous but organised by 
members of Congress-I. 

2. It was not a communal riot although it has endangered 
communal amity as its aftermath. 

3. It was primarily meant to arouse passions of the majority 
community— Hindu chauvinism— in order to consolidate 
Hindu votes in the coming election, 


II was the old colonial 'divide and rule' policy setting one 
religion against another. The State had forgotton its 
role of the protector. Instead, it became the collaborator 
to violence against a minority. 

As we said earlier, there is scope or rather need for many mo-e 
reports to come out. The number of the dead for instance is yet 
tn be ascertained. Even in the Vietnam war, the number of the 
dead is known but in this 4-day war sponsored by the Government's 
own party and against one selected section of the country's minori- 
ties, none lenows for certain how many Sikhs have lost tbeir lives. 
Those who were dragged out of trains and killed are still not 
counter! as dead by their relatives : they are still waiting for them 
to come back, hoping and waiting and hoping against all hopes 
some are on the verge of eoParse. Bhagat Singh, for instance, 
is still searching frantically for his son whom he had sent back from 
Hard war to Delhi on November!. And Bhagat Singh could not 
be the only one. 

Women recognised as recentlv widowed are 1300 in number ; 
most of them young, the majority illiterate, once dependent on their 
husbands, absorbed in their homes and families, who had never gone 
out to work, are today alone fncmg a merciless world ; with kids to 
look after, no husband to fall hack upon, nn home to go back to, no 
Gurudwara or Granthi to turn to for solace ard those agonising 
cries of a burning man piercing her heart— she is like a lost soul ; 
some have lost their minds, manv are ill after rape. Can a paltry 
sum of a few thousands sanctioned as compensation (that too has 
not reached manv^ compensate the loss of a human being. Then there 
are the kids— 4000 orphans as said by Lt. Gen. J.S. Aurora, many 
of whom have seen their fathers fhev ndorcd. dragged out and burnt 
alive, their mothers they rushi-d to in trouble, beaten up and raped. 
These kids with frightened and bewildered eyes, will they ever come 
out of their trauma and be normal happy jolly children again ? 
This is only one aspect of human life t!-e violence has thrown up- 
broken homes, shattered children 8r.d old desolate parents. Someone 
someday will write upon. 

Another aspect, no less alarming, is the mass exodus of the 
Sikhs from Delhi— the n r. bcr cruld re rr>v.r:ere rour.d fO.CCO. 
Some have left for Rajasthan, some for Punjab, some are migrating 

abroad creating a vacuum here and imbalancing the economy in 
Delhi ; the charpoy stringers of KalyaDpuH, carpenters and house 
painters of Sultanpuri, the electricians and mechanics— those wizards 
with rundown cars, scooters and household gadgets are already in 
short supply. The daily advertisements suggest that even some of the 
well-to-do Sikhs arc exchanging their Delhi property for property 
in Punjab. These are just a few aspects picked up at random which 
no doubt will be studied by sociologists and economists one day. 

There is a feeling of insecurity haunting those who are still 
here, for the criminals whom many had identified and bad men- 
tioned their names in various complaints made to various autho- 
rities and police, are still roaming around freely and holding out 

Can the Delhi violence be looked upon in isolation ? Or is 
it a part of a deteriorating system ? The secular foundation of the 
nation has seldom been under greater stress. Under the facade of 
secularism and democracy the conditions prevailing here are not 
very different from those in a Fascist State. The Black Laws and 
repressive measures are striking at the very roots of basic freedoms 
and fundamental rights. Secret torture of under-trials inside jails, 
the tremendous increase in the power of the police, the growing 
exploitation of the poor, the nexus between the politician, his 
musclertten and the bureaucrats, are all portents of a Fascist State. 

The violence, the terror, the brutal killings have been let loose 
on the Sikhs. Only yesterday, it was the Sikhs who were the victims, 
tomorrow it could be you or me. The warning had been given 
a long time back by a great lover of human rights, Martin 
Neiraoller : 

"In Germany, the Nazis came first for the Communists and 
I did not speak up, because I was not a Communist. 
Then they came for the Jews and I did not speak up, be- 
cause I was not a Jew. 

Then they came for trade unionists and 1 did not speak 
up, because T was not a trade unionist. 
Then they came for the Catholics. I was a Protestant 
and so I did not sepak up. 

Then they came for me, and by that time there was no 
one left to speak for anyone". 


Prelude to the Violence 

Indira Gandhi, the Prime Minister of India," was shot by two of 
her security guards at 9.18 A.M. on October 31, 1984. She was rushed 
to the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (in South Delhi). Her son 
Rajiv Gandhi, was away in West Bengal at that time and he returned 
to Delhi at about 4 P.M. President Zail Singh who was away in the 
Middle East, returned at about 5 P.M. and at 6.55 P.M. Rajiv 
Gandhi was sworn in as Prime Minister of India. 

The media focussed on the fact that the two assassins were Sikhs. 
As if by design, the entire blame of this grave tragedy was put on these 
two Sikh individuals and later transferred to the entire Sikh 

The first incidents, any where in the country, started in Calcutta. 
According to the Statesman of November 1, a Sikh was beaten up at 
11 A.M. near Writers' Buildings and one more Sikh was attacked in 
the Kidderpore area around the same time. A Sikh was assaulted in 
front of the Tea Board at about 1.30 P.M. The national 
Press reported that Congress-I workers and volunteers ran amuck in 
different parts of Calcutta from the forenoon. The Army was called in 
to control the situation and it had taken charge of the city by 2.30 

In Madras city, mobs took over, smashing shop windows, for- 
cing shopkeepers to close down, and burning two buses of the Adarsha 
Vidyalaya run by the Punjab Association. 

In Madhya Pradesh, angry mobs attacked shops and petrol 
pumps belonging to Sikhs in Jabalpur and Indore. The Army was put 
on the alert. 

In Uttar Pradesh, witness to terrible incidents of arson, loot, and 
killing from November 1 onwards, particularly in Kanpur, few inci- 
dents were reported for October 31. Huge crowds gathered in the 
streets on getting the news of Mrs. Gandhi's assassination. Shops were 
closed. But that was all ' 



In Orissa, Congress-I workers attacked Sikhs in Bbuwaneshwar 
and set a private truck on fire. In Kalahandi where much burning and 
killing took place from November 1, nothing violent happened on 
October 3!, but crowds collected in the Gandhi Chowk in front of 
the Polic Station and the S.P's office. Also continuous Ramayan Path 
was begun. 

In Delhi, incidents started in the afternoon of October 31. ! 
Most of these incidents were concentrated in South Delhi, and that 
too in the vicinity of the All India Institute of Medical Sciences where 
Mrs. Gandhi was admitted after being shot. Majority of the Sikhs in 
Delhi had always been supporters of the Congress-I, and many of 
them, as shocked and grieved as anyone else, had also reached All 
India Instititute of Medical Sciences on that tragic morning of October 
31. It was only in the late afternoon that their manhandling began. 
Even the President's car was stoned when it slowed down at the entr- 
ance of the hospital. Sikhs were dragged out of buses near the AHMS 
by large mobs and beaten. At about 4 P.M. some looting of shops 
and burning of vehicles started at South Extension and 1NA market: as 
reported, it was at the observed instigation and signal of a Congress-1 
■member of the Delhi Metropolitan Council. 


The following incident outside the INA market at about 4 P.M. 
is significant. A Sikh youth's turban was snatched by a small crowd 
of 30-35 persons. They tossed his turban once, and jeered as it came 
down. They tossed it a second time and as it came dowu, set it ablaze. 

the INA market came out and whisked away the 
i: he was not harmed. 

Then the mob moved to the Safdarjang Aiiport Flyover. They 
spotted a car with an elderly Sikh gentleman inside. They stopped 
the car, dragged out the Sikh, abused him, roughed him up, hamme- 
red the car, but let the Sikh go without any harm to his life. 

Around that time, a mail van driven by a Sikh was burnt near 
the Jor Bagh-Safdarjang Airport crossing. The Singh Sabba 
Gurudwara at Laxmibai Nagar was set on fire just as the Gurudwara 
at East Kidwai Nagar, next to All India Institute of Medical Sciences, 
was burnt down. Two private buses and two shops in the same area 
were set ablaze. The police watched passively. In the walled city, 
mobs looted shops belonging to Sikhs, and set timber shops 
and trucks on fire. By 4 P.M. shutters were down on most of the 



shops in the Slianker Market, Punchkuin Road, Karol Bagh, Sarojini 
Nagar and various other shopping centres in Delhi but there was no 
general phenomenon of loot and arson in the city, as markets 
remained open in certain areas like Greater Kailash-H. 

One significant scene was enacted at the All MS at about 
5-5.30 P.M. Rajiv Gandhi came out with folded hands after seeing 
his mother's dead body. H.K.L. Bhagat followed him. A huge 
crowd had collected and were chanting slogans of 'Indira Gandhi 
Amar Rahc' and 'Khoon ka Badla Khoon se'. Bhagat came out and 
wis reported 10 have scolded the crowd, "What is the point of 
asembliug here ?" 

There is not a single known incident of any Sikh having been 
killed or burnt alive on that day. A rumour concerning Sikhs was 
doing the rounds on October 31 -of Sikhs celebrating Mrs. Gandhi's 
assassination by distributing sweets, or dancing the 'bhangra', or by 
lighting lamps and bursting crackers. 

Unsuspectful of any plan against their community, Sikhs ia gene- 
rat ventured out of their houses for various errands on the morning 
of November I . A large number of Sikhs unmindful of any personal 
danger had gone to Teen Murti House in the early hours of November 
ljust like others, to pay their last homage to their departed leader. As 
observed on T.V., a large number of Sikhs were seen in the crowded 
queues which were passing in front of the dead body of Mrs. Indira 
Gandhi in the early hours of November 1. However, the sight of 
the Sikhs from those queues completely disappeared within an hour 
and a half of that morning. By that time the plan had been put into 

Looking back and comparing the events of the 31st October 
with the carnage which followed from November 1 onwards, it 
appears that the 3 1 st October occurrences were isolated, sporadic, 
and emotional in nature while those which started on November 1 
and continued for a full three days were extremely systematic, planned 
and organised in character: based on cold political considerations. In 
retrospect, it is perhaps not implausible to suggest that between the 
time of Mrs. Gandhi's assassination on the morning of October 31 
and the time of her son Rajiv Gandhi's accession as the new Prime 
Minister in the evening of that fateful day, three crucial decisions 
were taken by someone somewhere in logical sequence (however 


perverse the logic may appear in a secular, socialist, democratic 
republic) : 

1. Rajiv Gandhi must succeed as the new Prime Minister * 

2. Elections must be held forthwith to cash in on the 
'sympathy' factor in favour of Congress-I ; 

3. Sikhs as a community must be taught a lesson and 
demonstratively so— this was felt necessary to consolidate 
the Hindu public opinion swaying towards Indira Gandhi 
and her party after the Army action on the Golden Temple 
in June. The situation changed dramatically after the 
assassination. The Hindu community's confidence in the 
ability of the ruling party to give protection to the Hindus 
against the "militant" Sikhs would have been shattered, 
the Hindu votes would have swung towards the 
Opposition, if nothing whatsoever, was done to suggest 
immediate "relribution" and "badla" for her assassi- 

So something appears to have been done. 


The Carnage 

While on 31st October, violence in the Capital was confined 
mainly to areas in South Delhi, and round about the AIIMS, next 
morning it spread like wild fire all over Delhi. As the Press reported, 
violence occurred in all the urban zones of Delhi— Centre, East, 
West, North, South— and even spread to the rural areas of North 

In the Central areas, the most affected localities were Karol 
Bagh, Chandni Chowk, Paharganj, Janpath, Connaught Circus, 
Sadar Bazar and Gurudwara Rakab Ganj. 

In the East, violence occurred in various Trans-Yamuna 
colonies, such as Gandhi Nagar, Shahdara, Trilokpuri, Kalyanpuri, 
Vinod Nagar, Pandav Nagar, Gamri, Bhajanpura and Nand 

In the West, the serious trouble spots were Mongolpuri, 
Sultanpuri, Moti Nagar, Naraina, Patel Nagar, Inderpuri, Punjabi 
Bagh, Paschim Vihar, Tilak Nagar, Hari Nagar and Janakpuri. 

In the North, some of the worst incidents occurred at Ashok 
Vihar, Jehangirpuri, Gulabi Bagh, Kashmere Gate, Kingsway Camp, 
and Vegetable Mandi of Azadpur. 

The worst affected areas in South Delhi were : South Extension, 
Safdarjang Epclave, Kalkaji, Khan Market, Greater Kailash, 
Sarojini Nagar, Maharani Bagh, Defence Colony, Nizammuddin, 
Bhogal, Hari Nagar Ashram, NOIDA, Okhla Industrial Estate, 
Kotla Mubarakpur, Panchsheela Enclave, Gulmohar Park, Chitta- 
ranjan Park, Lajpat Nagar, and Vasant Vihar. 

Hundreds of Gurudwaras were set on fire. Mobs tried to 
attack even the Gurudwara Rakab Ganj near Central Secretariat and 
Sheesh Gaoj Gurudwara at Chandni Chowk. 

Shops owned by Sikhs were looted or set on fire indiscriminately 
at various places, such ; as at Azadpur or at Nehru Place near Kalkaji. 
A big cloth shop, S.M. & Sons, just next to the Khadi Gramodyog 
in Regal Building in Connaught Ciicus was set ablaze as was the, 
nearby Marina Hotel. 


A number of cinema halls owned by Sikhs were reduced to 
ashes such as the Janak Cinema at Janakpuri, Deep at Ashok Vibar, 
and Chanderlok in Chittaranjan Park. 

Even schools were not spared from arson and destruction such 
as the Guru Har Kishan Public School in Vasant Vihar, two of 
its branches at Sarojini Nagar and Loni Road, the Mata Jai Kaur 
School at Ashok Vihar, and the Takshila Public School at 
Loni Road. 

Vehicles appearing to be owned by Sikhs and taxi stands 
manned by them were destroyed. 

The scene at Lohia Hospital on the evening of Thursday, 
November l.was an indication of what was happening in the 
city. Men with stab wounds, pellet injuries, Jathi abrasions and 
others who had been stoned and beaten up were being brought 
in every minute. Five people had been brought in dead and as many 
died later. In one ward alone (ward No. 10), the register showed 
that 1 14 men had been brought in till 5 P.M. 

Some Sikhs had been brought in from the railway stations. All 
were dragged out, kicked, and stones lying on the railway track were 
used to assault them. 

All traces of the existence of an effective law and order 
machinery disappeared as mobs ran riot. The police appeared to be 
by and large unwilling to handle the situation and the Fire Brigade 
telephone brought little response. Senior police officers refused to 
give any authoritative information. No part of Delhi was trouble 
free. All hell, it appeared, had been let loose. 

After visiting several localities spread all over Delhi— places as 
far apart as, for instance, Nizammuddin and Jehangirpuri— and 
interviewing a large number of survivors and their neighours, we 
find that : 

I. Systematic violence, as distinct from sporadic, had erupted 
in the Capital on November 1 between 9 and II O' clock 
in the morning; 

II. The initial target of attack was the Gurudwara— the sup- 
posed arsenal of the Sikhs and the symbol of their collective 
faith and courage— followed by loot, arson and killing of 
the Sikhs : first the men, particularly youths, then members 
of their families; 



III. The duration of violence differred as between the Centre 
and the Periphery ; in centrally located areas of the Capital, 
for instance, it' lasted from morning till evening of 
November 1, while in more inaccessible Resettlement 
Colonies of Outer and and East Delhi it lasted much longer 
—between 48 to 72 hours. 

Below are the details of some of the localities which were 
especially examined. These details are classified according to the 
date, time, target and duration of the violence. 

(a) Jehangirpuri Resettlement Colony (Blocks A, C, D, E, EE, G, I, 
J and K) : 

Before the violence erupted in Jehangirpuri proper on November 
1, it began at about 9.15 A.M. at Azadpur near the Sabzi Mandi 
where a crowd looted 8 trucks laden with fruits parked in front of a 
Sikh motor mechanic's shop and then burned these down as also 
the shop. Swelling up in strength the crowd then proceeded 
to Jehangirpuri, where at around 10 O'clock it first attacked the 
three Gurudwaras and burnt them one after another, subsequently it 
started looting and burning the shops, a factory, a petrol station, 
a number of trucks, scooters and houses all belonging to the Sikhs. 
Gathering momentum, the violence continued till 6 O' clock in the 
evening till all the Sikhs they could seize had been killed. A Munici- 
pal Councillor, xxxx, was seen inciting the mob. Several persons 
involved in the violence were recognised by the survivors. One xxxx 
who resides in K Block had a list of Sikh bouses, and once the houses 
were identified, they were set on fire, the men hiding there were 
dragged out, beaten up. severely and then killed. The violence 
continued sporadically till November 3 when the Army arrived and J 
rescued the survivors. 

(6) M 

On November 1, at about 10.15 A.M. a crowd of men led by 8 
to 10 village leaders collected in front of the Congress-I office ; they 
had come from the direction of the Flyover after having earlier burnt J 
down 2 Sikh factories and a house on their way to Mongolpuri. Inside ] 
the Congress-I office sat 50-60 men getting ready to go to Teen Murti 
House for 'darsban* of the late Prime Minister. The leaders stopped 
them from going to Teen Murti House, instead they were found mov- . 


ing towards the Gurudwara at Block F which they attacked and burnt 
down. By then Congress-I sympathisers were brought down from the 
nearby Pooth village in a DTC bus and the crowd was about 200 
strong. Round about 1 1 A.M. the second Gurudwara was also attacked 
and burnt down. When 4 houses belonging to the Sikhs were being 
attacked, the Sikhs resisted with their talwars. The crowd retreated, 
went back to the Congress-1 office and soon the local Congress leader 
went rushing to the Mongolpuri Police Station to complain 
against the armed Sikhs. The police suddenly became active and 
came down. The Sikhs were arrested and were brought to the 
Police Station, were disarmed there and ordered to go back to their 
homes. On the way each one of them was slaughtered. The crowd 
by now was 40O-5CO strong. 

Mr. Gurdecp Singh, President of the Singh Sabha Gurudwara, 
Block R, Mongolpuri, has given a vi"id account of how his two 
brothers, Mr. Kulwant Singh and Mr. Rattan Singh, were killed 
and his sister-in-law raped on November I, in his FIR (No. 176 
dated November 11) lodged with the Mongolpuri Police Station. 
The following persons — Kalia (a scooter driver who lives in Gali 
No. 6), Seva Ram (a kerosene depot dealer), Shankcr, Sambhu and 
his brother, 2 persons whose father is a vegetable vendor and 
Goverdhan (of Gali No. 4)— attacked his brothers with arras, dragged 
them out of the house, assaulted and injured them grieviously, poured 
kerosene oil or some other inflamable substance and burnt them 
alive. Afterwards, Shanti (a tailor who resides in Gali No. 5, 
Block O, Mongolpuri) accompanied by 4 others (whose names are 
not known but they can be identified) criminally assaulted Mrs. 
Devinder Kaur, wife of Mr. Kulwant Singh, under duress and 
threat of murder. Mr. Gurdip Singh has given the names and 
nddressrs of the 'murderers and rapists' in his FIR but none of them 
have been apprehended upto now. 

(c) Budh Vihar : 

According to Mr. Piara Singh of Budh Vihar: "On 1.1 1. 1984 at 
12 at noon, Nishan Saheb (flag) of the Gurudwara was thrown 
down and Gurudwara's property looted, safe and other things taken 
away. Then, after looting the houses of the Sikhs and setting them 
afire, they went back. About 3000-3500 people were there. After 
that the situation calmed down. 


"At night, they came again. At about 9.30 P.M. they were 
beating up a man named Jiti. I had earlier asked my father 
to go to a oearby house of a Hindu brother. My father and Mokhar 
Singh's father had gone to a neighbour' bouse. Leaving Jiti crying 
and sobbing, about 50-60 people rushed to the house where my 
father was hiding himself. The Hindu brother of that house asked 
my father to leave the house. My father ran towards the other 
side. Some people saw him running. They hit him on the head 
and dragged him to the street. There about 40-50 men beat him 
up with lathis. My father became unconscious. They left two men 
with my father so that if any one would turn up to save him they 
would beat him. The two men had lathis and rods. Rest of the men 
went towards the Nala and shouted, "Is there any son of a snake ? 
Bring him out." After some time, some people came and threw down 
the dead body into the Nala. Where they beat him, there blood and 
only blood was to be seen. At 1 1 O'clock, we came out for patrol- 
ling which was started by the members of our locality. I gave up 
my sleep and started working with them. After sometime, I was 
surrounded by some people who said that I should be killed because 
I am a son of a Sikh. One man pitied on me and said that I should 
be freed because I never visited a Gurudwara, People left me. 

"In the morning, the same man who saved me the night before 
came to tell me that danger was still there and that 1 should run away. 
I set out at the same time. A voice came from behind, "A sardar is 
going. Catch him. Beat him." I ran towards the other side where I 
saw a man going by a bicycle. Sitting on his cycle I went to a 
relative's house in Rani Bagh and when the camps started, I came to 
the camp at Shakur Pur." 

Another account regarding Budh Vihar is provided by Mr. 
Mohinder Singh, a resident of G-l Gurudwara at Budh Vihar. He 
does Katha and Path (recite the prayers and explain their meanings). 
His son, Satnam Singh, who has been killed, was the priest of the 
Gurudwara. In the words of Mohinder Singh : "On the morning 
of the first November, we did not take out the procession (Pra- 
bhat Pheri) that we had to take out on the occasion of Guru 
Nanak's birthday, as we were grieved at the sad demise of our 
Prime Minister, Mrs. Indira Gandhi. In Phase-IJ, the recitation of 
Guru Granth Sahib had started at Kartar Singh's house. We went 


there. My duty was from 9 A.M. to 11. A.M. I gave my duty. At 
11. 30, .too much noise started coming. The family was asked to termi- 
nate the recitation. We stopped. Kartar Singh and I hid ourselves 
in some Hindu brother's house. At about five in the evening, many 
people came there and shouted that the Sikhs be brought out. Some 
people came in and dragged out Kartar Singh. Then they started 
beating him badly. Ladies started shrieking. They asked us to go. We 
went out after climbing the wall. Hiding ourselves in the bushes, 
we reached the Gurudwara at one at night. The Gurudwara, we saw, 
was wholly burnt down and the walls had collapsed. We went to 
Mr. Bakshish Singh's house and hid ourselves there. Next day, my 
son got up and went to the Gurudwara. People saw him there and 
burnt him alive. After that I hid myself in Mohinder Singh's house. 
There were four persons. On 3-1 1-1984 at 4 O' clock many people 
came and killed Joginder Singh and Mohinder Singh. I and one 
other person remained safe. After that, hiding myself I reached 
Shakar Pur Camp." 

(d) Sultanpuri Resettlement Colony : 

On November 1, round about 3 P.M. the A-4 Block in 
Sultanpuri was attacked by a 200-strong mob. They were seen coming 
from the direction of Mongolpuri. The timing of the attack here 
had to be different from the morning, as in all other areas, to 
afternoon because the killing and looting in Nangloi and 
Mongolpuri and Budh Vihar took a much longer time than planned. 
The pattern, however, was followed as elsewhere : the mob destroyed 
the Gurudwara first, then burnt the Granthi, then the looting began 
and the arson, and finally the male Sikhs were dragged out and killed. 
The destruction of this A-4 Block must have been total for the 
attack continued till past midnight, and after an inter-mission at 
about 4 A.M. the orgy continued again, unabated till 9 A.M. on 
November 2. After destroying A-4 Block the mob was reinforced with 
people from nearby villages, jhuggis, resettlement colonies and 
neighbouring Blocks. Congress-1 leaders like xxxx and local goondas 
like xxxx and xxxx from C-2, and the kerosene supplier xxxx from 
xxxx and police officials xxxx and neighbours xxxx and XXX could 
be identified by the survivors from P-l Block. The killers 
were from outside^Gujars, jamadars and Bhangis— backed and 
used by Congress-I ringleaders, local goondas and police. On 
November 2, the C-4 Block was attacked by a huge mob in the 


morning. The Sikhs were dragged out and beaten mercilessly. Some 
of them came out from other Blocks and in self-defence brought out 
their swords. The police were informed. Arriving promptly, they 
disarmed the Sikhs, arrested some, shot a number ol them and order- 
ed the rest of them to go back to their Blocks. Immensely encouraged, 
swollen in numbers, the mob attacked the Sikhs, pulled them out, 
doused them with kerosene, burned them alive, with the active encou- 
ragement of the police. The destruction was systematic; shouting 'no 
seed of a Sikh would be allowed to grow' the mob did not spare even 
the little boys. After the C-4 Block, the A-2 Block was also 
attacked and men burnt alive. The number of widows in Sultanpuri 
alone is 144. The duration of the attack was, perhaps, the longest in 
this colony lasting three full days. 

As elsewhere, the carnage followed a very definite pattern. First, 
the houses of the Sikhs were identified; their names ascertained 
from the ration shops; the oil supplier had the kerosene and other 
inflammable material ready for distribution; killers were got together 
both from outside as well as from the neighbourhood; weapons used 
were iron rods, daggers and axes. The killings were followed by 
extensive looting and arson; what was new in this colony was the 
manhandling and in certain Blocks raping and abduction of young 
women and girls. The date was adhered to and also the target. As 
everywhere the survivors mentioned the Congress-I functionaries by 
name being behind the violence. 

(e) Kalyanpuri Resettlement Colony : 

On November 1, at about 9.45 A.M. it Was reported in the 
Gurudwara at Block 3 i that a Sikh had been killed near Chand 
Cinema; the Sikhs assembled there, got nervous but decided to 
defend the Gurudwara; a little later— round about 10 A.M., a 200-350 
strong crowd was seen coming along the road leading to Block 33; it 
reached the Gurudwara at Block 36 in no time and attacked it. 
Most of the Sikhs trying to defend it were hacked to death and the 
Gurudwara was set on fire. The crowd then surged towards the 
residential area where 9ome of the Sikhs bad fled; on the way the Sikh 
shops which had already been identified were looted and burnt; then 
the mob rushed towards the Sikh houses which also had been identi- 
fied earlier and marked. The Sikhs resisted the attack and trying tq 



save themselves stood on the roofs of their houses; some of them 
accompanied by their Hindu neighbours went to Dr. Ashok, their 
Congress-I Municipal Councillor for help; he refused and would not 
even allow them to use his telephone to call the police. By that time, 
the crowd had swelled up to 5C0 and had rounded Block 13 ; instead 
of breaking open each house in that Block they made holes 
on the back wall of the houses and entered the rooms in large numbers, 
overpowering the Sikhs, killed 32 of them and looted and burnt 
their houses. Then they went to Blocks 12 and 11 and killed 6 more 
men there and burnt their houses. Violence continued till the after- 
noon of November 3, when the dead had been cremated and no other 
evidence of death was left; except in the silence of death and the 
charred remains of wood where once houses had stood. And there was 
Nanaki with her four tiny kids showing us her one precious posses- 
sion—the single blood-smeared finger of her husband who had been 
burnt ahve before her eyes and his hand slashed off so that they could 
grab the gold ring he still had on his finger. 

(f) Trilokpuri Resettlement Colony : 

The violence began on November I around 9.45 A.M. A 
crowd of 400-500 saw a Sikh on the main road. The scooter of a 
passerby was stopped, petrol was taken out and the Sikh was soaked 
in petrol and burnt. At that time, in front of the main road outside 
Shri Guru Singh Sabha Gurudwara of Block 36, two policemen were 
seen. A lecturer resident of Mayur Vihar, who got down 
from a DTC bus at the corner of Trilokpuri and walked 
the distance to his house, approached the policemen and requested 
them to call more policemen to protect the Sikhs from the crowd 
which was big and determined. The policemen then moved away. 
When the policemen disappeared, the crowd attacked the Gurudwara, 
killed six Sikhs including the Granthi of the Gurudwara and his son 
who were trying to defend it and put them to the fire,, using kerosene 
and tyres. The Gurudwara was in flames within minutes. The chief 
assailant was one whose mother is an important functionary of the 
local Congress-1 unit. The crowd then surged ahead on the road to 
Sector 32 from two directions. By 11 A.M. the crowd reached the two 
corners of Sector 32. Some persons tried to pacify it without 
success. XXXX of Congress- 1 was apparently leading the crowd on 
the side of the open fields, where transmission towers are located. On 



the other side is located a Mosque, which was occupied by many per- 
sons some of whom were identified as local sweepers. The brickbats 
started from the Mosque, the Sikhs tried to defend from their roof 
tops. The crowd from the side of the open field was deterred because 
five houses of Muslims sympathetic to Congress-I stood as buffer, their 
members trying to appeal for peace. Four policemen near the Mosque 
did not intervene. Meanwhile a crowd from Chilla Gaon, which is 
about half a kilometer in the east, had attacked the Gurudwara of 
Block 32 near the Balmiki Temple. The Sikhs there defended it till 
3.30 P.M. At that time two Sikhs were seen running towards the open 
fields, crossing the barbed wire and hiding themselves in the tall grass. 
The crowd set the field on fire at several corners. There was no way 
left to those Sikhs and they were burnt alive. 

As soon as the Chilla Gaon crowd burnt the Gurudwara and 
surged towards Block 32, the resistance collapsed. All male members 
were killed; except six, one of them an old man of 65. Women and 
children were forced out of the houses and the killed persons were 
burnt with cots and kerosene. Some were dragged out and houses 
were set on fire. 190 houses in five rows were burnt, nothing remained 
inside. Human hair and blood stains could be detected even on 1 1th 
November. The unofficially estimated death toll is 450 but the 
official figure is 95. 

Some girls were picked up by villagers from Chilla Gaon. 
On 7th November, 6 girls were recovered by the local police. After 
4 P.M. on the 1st the crowd had swelled to 2000, the residents of 
neighbouring Blocks had also joined in those nefarious activities. But 
some Muslims of Block 32 as well as of other Blocks saved some Sikh 
males. Our eye-witness Joginder Singh was saved by Kadir Ahmed 
of Block 32. Joginder Singh escaped at 5 A.M. on 2nd morning, after 
shaving his beard and trimming his hair and dressed up as a goonda. 
He ran away to his relations in the city and returned on 7th November 
and reported to the police. 

The riot continued unabated till it stopped in the afternoon 
of November 3. There was not much then to do either. 
The picture was one of utter desolation, everywhere there was the 
stench of blood and rotten flesh and dead bodies were strewn all over, 
piles of burnt ba»r Jay by their side, It was tbc day of dogs and 


(g) Hart Ntgar Ashram (New Delhi) j 

Violence began round about J 1 O'clock in the morning on 
November 1; a huge mob over 10C0 strong split into two and pro- 
ceeded to destroy simultaneously the Bala Saheb Gurudwara and the 
Sikh pocket in the Shalimar Theatre area. The Gurudwara was 
badly damaged, most of the houses on the Bala Saheb Gurudwara 
Road were reduced to ashes; a young man was dragged out of his 
house and doused with kerosene and was burnt alive on the road. 
His 80 year-old mother has gone off her mind. In Shalimar Theatre 
45 to 50 trucks, cars, scooters, 2 buses and shops, 8 houses with all 
their belongings were set on fire. Today the survivors have been redu- 
ced to paupers. A Government contractor of electronics and his two 
young sons were beaten to death. Harbhajan Singh, a truck repairer, 
was dragged out of his house in Sunlight Co'ony, his thigh was cut off 
first and then he was thrown to the flames. For three days, dogs could 
be seen sniffing at the charred remains. But for the protection Hindu 
neighbours gave to the Sikh young men— many more would have been 
butchered. Two women gave birth to premature infants, they 
also were taken care of and sent to Jivan Nagar Hospital. 


Congress-I leaders, particularly XXXX, the Municipal Council- 
lor and his cronies XXXX and XXXX were active. A public carrier 
XXXX supplied tons of pebbles which were used to stone the build- 
ings—even to-day the houses show big holes. The construction 
labour also joined in the game of brick batting. 

What stands out is the behaviour of the Police— all appeals to 
them to control the mob fell on deaf ears; one of them was heard 
telling an old woman of over 70 who had asked him to get a little 
milk for an infant "yes. yes feed it for half an hour, we are going to 
finish off your infants" (Adhe ghante ke liye dudh pillao, tumhare 
bacchon ko katenge). 

The violence which began in the morning, stopped at night on 
November 1, lasting about 8-10 hours. On November 2, the Army 
was posted there and several people were rescued. And this happened 
not in far off colonies across the Yamuna but right inside the Capital, 
hardly 3 kilometres from the Rashtrapati Bhawan. 

(fa) Nizammuddio : 

Roundabout 10 O'clock in the morning of November J, 
violence erupted in Nizammuddin; 86 trucks owned by Sikhs and 



their houses were burnt down. Sikh taxis in the taxi stand were also 
set on fire. Coming inside the residential area the mob set on fire the 
house of a Sikh in <C Block. There is little doubt that the house 
had been identified earlier. The mob by then 1 000 strong, marched 
to Bhogal and beat to death six Sikhs on the Flyover in presence of 
20 policemen who just looked on. The mob was joined by white 
kurta-pyjama clad young men who came in two buses. fn a big Barat 
like procession preceded by an oil tanker and followed by a police 
jeep, the crowd passed through Bhoga! Market and burnt any number 
of cars, scooters, looted Sikh shops on Jangpura Road and damaged 
the Bhogal Singh Sabha Gurudwara. The Hindu residents prevented 
it being burnt down, they were afraid that their own houses would 
catch fire if the oil tanker had been used to douse the Gurudwara 
building for setting it ablaze. Five policemen were seen drinking tea 
brought to them by XXXXX, XXXX, and XXXX, all of whom were 
identified by the Khalsa of the Gurudwara as being bad characters 
of the locality. 


(i) Kalkajl : 

Eye-witness report of November 1 by a student who travelled 
by Mudrlka Bus from Punjabi Bagh to All MS, then to Katkci' 
jt, starting at 9.30 A.M., reaching Kalkaji by II AM.: 

"At 9.30 A.M. on November I , when I boarded the Mudrika 
Bus from Punjabi Bagh in order to go to AIIMS/Safdarjang Hos- 
pital, the atmosphere seemed to me to be rather quiet and 
peaceful. But as soon as the bus reached Raja Garden, a few goonda- 
looking characters led by a white kurta dad man jumped into the bus, 
and started looking for Sikh passengers. Since there were no Sikhs in 
this bus, it was allowed to proceed undisturbed. At Naraina on the 
way, I saw a few men dressed in kurta pyjamas, beating a Sikh 
young man mercilessly. The Sikh youth in order to save his life, ran 
into a nearby sweet-shop but he was not allowed to enter. All this I 

could see clearly from the bus when I reached Kalkaji at 11 

A.M. (on November I) 1 noticed that in quite a few places shops had 
been looted and doors and windows had been smashed. A few 
policemen, some of whom were armed, stood silently near Gali No. 
14, Gobindpuri. In fact the policemen were occassional^ making 
provocative and irrigative statements. 


"At 11.30 A.M. on November 1, I was sitting and chatting at a 
friend's place in Kalkiji DDA colony when we heard a big noise. 
Coming out, we saw a lady advancing towards us shrieking very lou- 
dly, the same lady whom I had earlier seen shouting and shrieking at 
Kalkaji. "Burn the Sikhs, kill them, then only the dogs will learn 
what can be the result of murdering the leader of the nation." On 
asking one learnt that she was a well-known local activist of the Con- 
gress-1. She v/ent away shouting. On her two sides, were walking cer- 
tain people who looked like professional gangsters and who were arm- 
ed with iron rod. and latbis, etc. As the Congress-I lady left, some of 
the bad characters put the local Gurudwara ablaze. One person had 
some explosive material in his hands which he started throwing 
successively. The mob took about half an hour to do all this. When 
they got convinced that the Gurudwara had burned, they went away; 
about half an hour later when the local people felt that the bad chara- 
cters had gone away, the non-Sikh people got together and, women 
and youth alike, they started taking out things from inside the 
Gurudwara and saved some of the valuables." 


Pattern : A Method in the Madness 

A clear and distinct pattern of the violence emerged on analysing 
the various reports and interviewing a number of survivors. There 
was a method in the madness that overwhelmed Delhi after the 

A. Meetings on 31st October Night : 

There is evidence that in several areas local Congress-I leaders 
held meeting on the night of October 31st and these preceded attacks 
and killings of the Sikhs. 


(a) In Vinod Nagar (East Delhi) according to a survivor Ram 
Singh (name changed), a taxi driver, a prominent Congress-I local lea- 
der of Vinod Nagar called a meeting in the evening of list October 
which was attended by xxxx, xxx (Bhaiswala), xxx (a known smuggler) 
and a few others; the meeting went on till midnight. These men along 
with 200-250 residents attacked his house early in the morning of 
November 1, broke down the door with iron rods and seeing all three 
of them (Ram Singh and his 2 sons) still sleeping, xxx told his friends 
tojpour kerosene on them and burn them to death. Ram Singh woke 
up, took out his kirpan and leapt out through the broken door — xxxx 
stood back and all the others fled. A Hindu neighbour from Himachai 
Pradesh helped him to escape. 

Surjit Singh— a Sevadar of a local Gurudwara in Vinod Nagar 
area (Nihang Singh Gurudwara, Pandav Nagar)— had left his house 
early in the morning and thus escaped death but his wife (Tej Kaur) 
and their 9 years old daughter Minoo, his friend Nahan Singh and 
Nahan's wife were all burnt alive on the morning of November L This 
sudden unbearable loss had nearly unhinged Surjit Singh's mind when 
we saw him in the Camp. 

(b) In Khajori-Bhajanpura (C Block)-Gamri area in Trans Yam- 
una one xxxx, a prominent Congress-I leader of the locality who is a 
Gujar by caste called a meeting on the night of3lst October which was 
attended by his son xxxx, xxxx (kerosene depot operator), xxx (Prim* 


pal of a local school in Bhajanpura) and made an exhaustive list of 
local Sikh families who were to be attacked on November 1 by them. 
According to the Nanaksar Report "what happened thereafter was 
sheer unspeakable horror. In a space of two and a half days among the 
families who took refuge in Nanaksar, 155 people have been slaugh- 
tered. These numbers, which are but from a single camp— make moc- 
kery of ihe Government's estimates of the deaths in the Capital. 45% 
of those killed were from Nandnagari, most of whom were from Block 
A- 1/3, the Punjabi Mohalla and Block E. Gamri and Bhajanpura — 
mostly C Block— accounted for another 30%. The dead left behind 
them 107 widows, 72% from the ages 20-45 years." 
(c) In Kallekhan Basti near Nizammuddin a meeting was held on 
31st October nig/it over cups of tea and lasted till late at night. It was 
presided over by a Congress-I elected leader and some gujars including 
a well known Vaid-all Congress-I sympathisers attended it, finalising 
their plan for November 1. 

B. Political Organisers : 

Throughout the Trans- Yamuna area and in the catchment area, 
there were three types of people who were behind the-scene organisers, 
those who identified Sikh households, mobilised hoodlums for may- 
hem and supplied fuel for arson. According to the survivors, these 
came from among (a) local level Congress I politicians and hoodlums 
at different hierarchical levels, (b) ration shop owners and (c) kerosene 
depot ovoers, who have invariably been members of the same party 
or closely linked to local Congress-I politicians (Nanaksar Report).^ 

According to our Survey, not an insignificant proportion of vic- 
tims (19 p.c.) and their neighbours (20 p c.) said that the attack was 
motivated by Congress-I political leaders. And a higher proportion 
of the victims (42 p.c) identified Congress-I sympathisers as assai- 

Jt was reported that prominent among the people who were incit- 
ing the mob to violence in Sultanpuri, one was xxxx a Congress-I func- 
tionary and a close associate of xxxx. xxxx allegedly went round the 
area later building up a climate of fear among the people by spreading 
the story that the Sikhs had poisoned the water supply. He was 
allegedly leading the attack. There was another one xxxx of the 
Jamadars, xxxx a narcotic seller and xxxx. 

Well dressed young men coming in Matador vans or cars or bu- 
ses later identified as important functionaries of Congress-I or elected 
leaders belonging to Congress-I, have been responsible for mobilising 


and directing the mob towards Sikh houses, shops, factories and 
Gurudwaras. Refugees from Patparganj, Khichripur, Kalyanpuri in 
Pandav Nagar Gurudwara separately interviewed mentioned that a 
cream coloured Matador (xxx) owned by one xxxx drove up to 
Ganesh Nagar (Pandav Nagar Complex) carrying 12 men, one of 
whom was xxxx, a Congress- 1 Councillor; they distributed to the 
crowd assembled there lathis, revolvers and rifles — which they had 
brought with them— and were heard telling them before leaving 'Use 
these on Sardars'. 

The list giving the names of these 12 men was given to Mr. H.K.L. 
Bhagat, Union Minister, to Mrs. Tajedar Babar the Congress- 1 Metro- 
politan Councillor and President of the Delhi Pradesh Committee of 
Congress-I and also to Mr. Bedi, an official in the Ministry of Defence. 
No action was taken against those named. 

In Elwgal it was xxxx, a Congress-I worker and xxxx, owner of 
a sweet-shop— a Congress-I sympathiser— who were seen directing the 
crowd to Sikh shops in Bhogal Market which were all looted. 

In Mongolpuri a white Ambassador was seen driving up near the 
flyover near Mongolpuri. Sitting inside was xxxx, a prominent Cong- 
ress-I man who had so masked his face as not to be recognised (but 
he was recognised all the same). He called the the crowd to his car 
and gave them some advice and then left; soon after that the Gurud- 
wara went up in flames on the morning of November I, 

In Vinod Nagar East two buses full of khadi kurta-pyjama clad 
young men drove up from the direction of the UP Border and led the 
local miscreants already assembled there, first to loot and burn Sikh 
shops and houses and then to burn alive human beings; genocide was 
perpetratea on November 1 in that small East Delhi colony. On 2nd 
November, 35 lawyers had visited some riot-affected areas. Mr. Ram 
Jethmalani's eye-witness account of the after-math of the Vinod Nagar 
killings is given in Chapter IV on 'Nature of Violence.' 

In Jehangirpuri, xxxx's name, a Congress-I local leader, has been 
reported, it has come up again and again as the one who incited the 
mob; once his henchman, xxxx had indentified the Sikh houses, he 
prodded them on to loot and burn these down. That politics of 
criminalisation was being played by the Congress-I functionaries has 
been conclusively proved. 

According to the affidavit of Gurdeep Kaur— "On November 1 in 
Trilokpuri about 500 people came to Block 32. In such a crowd it was 
not possible to recognise everyone. Since I have lived in Trilokpuri for 
8 years now I did recognise a few of the mob who had killed my family. 


They were Tello, Manu (alleged to be a smuggler), Jagga and his wife 
Draupadi, Kishori Jamadar (sells pork), Rampal Saroj (Congress-I 
goooda who participated fully in looting and murder and also super- 
vised the killing of several people), Roop Lai and his 3 sons who are 
thieves. Rampal Saroj came to our lane and assured us that Sikhs 
will not be harmed. He said there was no need to be afraid; being the 
local leader he told the Sikbs not to get out of their houses because 
that would be safer. I was shocked that this traitor had deceived us 
and was a part of the mob. Rampal Saroj was leading the killers and 
the assurance he had given us was just a trick of his so that no Sikh 
would leave the house. Within 5 hours he brought the goondas, showed 
them each Sikh household, saw to it that the Sikhs were pulled out, 
and in his presence many Sikhs were beaten and burnt alive," 

C. Method of Identification : 

Identification of Sikh shops and houses was done in a systematic 
way by (i) persons moving in scooters, in Matadors, or even on foot as 
if making a survey of the place; (ii) checking up names and addre- 
sses of Sikh students from school registers; (iii) with the help of ration 
cards and voters' lists; and (iv) by marking Sikh houses— Nazi fashion, 
as in Hitler's Germany. Nanaksar Report mentions': "xxx and xxx the 
owner of a shop which stands in the Bhajanpura Main Market, went 
from door to door of Sikh houses in Khajori Colony, Gamri and 
Bhajanpura marking them thus— X,S,(X), (S)— the houses were there- 
by marked for arson, looting and murder". 

D. Collection of Incendiary Material : 

Kerosene was collected from 

(i) Jhuggi dwellers (as in Nizammuddin Basti) by threatening 

(ti) Ration shop owners too willing to help, 
(iii) Kerosene depot owners. 

Nanaksar Report says: "Several sources jointly and individually 
have pointed to xxxx, xxxx, xxxx and xxxx as the ones who supplied 
kerosene by the bucket-ful on the 1st November. Further it was 
strongly alleged that xxxx under order of xxxx also supplied phos- 
phorous in the buckets of kerosene to aid the process of arson 

(but who supplied phosphorous to xxxx ?) None of the witnesses 

spoke of the "safed cheez" being handled, everyone said it was 
in kerosene buckets and seen only when the kerosene was spilled 
on to floors." This "white powder" was used in Jehangirpuri also. 


According to the survivors in Sultanpuri the, material used for arson 
was kerosene, some sort of liquid which burns and also some kind of 
powder which explodes or catches fire. 

Diesel oil and petrol were collected from petrol pumps, passing 
motor vehicles, cars and scooters. 

E. Collection of the Mob : 

(i) In Hari Nagar Ashram, miscreants, 400 to 500 strong, arrived 
by Delhi-Palwal Shuttle Express from Faridabad at 9.45 A.M. and 
also by Kutub-Narmada Express at 1 1 A.M., armed with lathis, iron 
rods, soda-water bottles and drums of kerosene. They joined the Jocal 
mob, 700 strong, who had come from nearby J.J. colonies. 

These people were led by xxx, a Cohgress-I local leader followed 
by bis friends xxxx, xxxx and xxxx. The mob now over 1000 strong 
split in two, one group attacking the Bala Saheb Gurudwara, and the 
second group the Shalimar area -the Sikh pocket. 

(ii) In Jehangirpuri also the pattern of collection of the mob is 
the same -neighbours as well as villagers from Balaswa, Ramgarh and 

(iii) In every Resettlement Colony 'outsiders' were brought in 
buses from villages if they were far off, otherwise people came on foot 
and joined the local people. 

(iv) In Sultanpuri the mob came from nearby Pooth village 
and some were bad character and local goondas from Blocks C-2, C-3, 
C-4, C-6. All their names are with us. If and when called for they 
would be produced. 

(v) Inquiries in Punjabi Bagh and Madipur colonies involving 
victims and looters, showed that the person leading the mobs were 
those who were used by the ruling party to mobilise support. 

The type of areas which the Lt. Governor identified at his Press 
briefing on November 4, 198 J are similar to those from which crowds 
were collected by the ruling party both for Ihe kisan rally three years 
ago and the bank loans function in January 1984. It was Mongolpuri, 
Sultanpurf, Trilokpuri and Kalyanpuri from where Congress-I politi- 
cians found their crowds. "And it was Jehangirpuri where mobs killed 
several persons of a minority community on suspicion that they had 
not voted for the Congress-I in civic elections in Delhi in January 
1983." (Statesman, November 5, 1984). 


F. Composition of the Mob : 

(i) Anti-social elements— some of them dacoits with police 
record such as xxxx, xxxx, xxxx, xxxx, xxxx (a mob leader as well), 
and so on. In JebaDgirpuri there are persons who are willing lo testify 
against these people in court; 

(ii) Scheduled castes— Khatiks, Chamars, Purbiyas, Jaraadars, 
bhangis (there is a great deal of resentment against the bhangis, most 
of whom rear pigs); 

(iii) Backward castes— Jats, Gujars, Ahirs, most of them erst- 
while land owners; their land was acquired by the Government for 
setting up new colonies. They have become hostile to the Sikhs 
because they live in tbese colonies. 

Weapons used by them— in addition to iathis and iron rods, 
daggers and axes were used extensively. 

G. The Type of Killers: 

Generally, Jat villagers from the outskirts, Jamadars, bhangis 
and lumpens have been accused as killers by the survivors. The Con- 
gress-! ring leaders paid Rs. 1000/- to each killer as boasted by the 
killers themselves who invariably used to be heavily drunk before 
killing. Some witnesses have accused some police men also of killing 
as in Sultanpuri or in Bhogal. Even today, two and a half months after 
the carnage, the refugees are afraid of three categories of human beings: 
Gujars, police and politicians. 

As mentioned in the Nauaksar Report: "xxxx in these colonies is 
probably the most vicious of the killers— a general hoodlum of the 
Gamri, Bhajanpura and Khajori area, a cla6s associate of xxxx, and 
always carries a revolver; he not only planned but actively participated 
in the killings and looting in Gamri and in C Block, Bhajanpura." 
Another Gujar, xxxx doodwalla who supplied milk to Janata flat 
No- xxx Nand Nagari killed the Sikh male in the flat. 

Depending on the size of the mob, attacks were simultaneous or 
sequential. Where the mob was very large, as in Hari Nagar Ashram 
or again in Trilokpuri, it split into 2 groups and the pattern of simul- 
taneous attack was observed; but where the mob was smaller, 1 50-250 
persons, the pattern was sequential: taking it easy, first the Gurudwaras 
were destroyed one after another and then the Sikh houses and shops 
already identified were looted, and finally the Sikh men were humil- 


iatcd, their hair was cut, their turbans torn apart, then they were 
brutally murdered and finally burnt down. This clever pattern leaves 
very little doubt that the violence had been extremely well organised 
by men who were experts at the game. 

I. Repeated Visits: 

To make sure if the victim was dead, the mob came back 
repeatedly to the place of* violence like birds of prey. In Bhogal the 
crowd came at intervals, first at 1 1 A.M., then at 2 P.M., to see if the 
shops had burnt out. In Jchangirpuri also it returned to see if the 
men who had been burnt were dead. 

J. Slogaas: 

Iu the over-all planning and organisation, the slogans had 
a very important part to play and they were mainly 3 types used 
all over Delhi. 

The object of the slogans was to incite the people to take re- 
venge by playing upon Mrs. Gandhi's greatness and the next moment 
reminding them that she was dead. 

Thus frenzied cries of : 

'Indira Gandhi Zindabad', 

'Indira Gaudhi A mar Rahe' and 

•Jab tak sooraj-chand rahega 

Indira tera naam rahega', 
were followed by 

'K.hoon ka badla khoon se Lenge' 


'Sardaron ko jala do, Moot lo\ 'Sardaron ko mar do* and 
"Hindu-bhai, Muslim-bhai 
Sardaron ki kare safai". 


The method of spreading rumours was subtle. It was done In 
three phases. 

In the first phase, on 3 1st October, only one rumour was 
spread in the evening. Its sole intention was to arouse and incite 
the spirit of revenge, which was otherwise being fed by the incessant 
showing of the dead body of Mrs. Gandhi on the TV and the 
continuous announcement of the community of the two killers. 

The media even suggested the course of revenge when the voice 
of the excited mob at Teen Murti came through clear and sharp in 


the TV : 'Khoon ka badla khoon se" ("Blood for blood.")- "The 
rumour was that Sikhs all over Delhi were celebrating Mrs. Gandhi's 
assassination by distributing sweets, dancing the 'bhangra' and bursting 
crackers as in Diwali. This spread like wild-fire though no body had 
seen either the distribution of sweets, the dance or the Diwali illumi- 
nation. Yet, all, even highly placed educated men and women 
accepted the rumour as true and were getting furious. 

In the second phase, on November I after the Gurudwaras had 
been burnt down and a number of Sikhs burnt alive or hacked to 
death, to prevent or remove any kind of sympathy and compassion 
for them, three kinds of rumours were floated. People heard that 
"every Gurudwara was an arsenal" and "weapons which were used by 
the extremists were found under the Gurudwaras when they were 
burnt down". However, in truth, no weapon was found in any of 
the burnt Gurudwaras. The second rumour was more forcejul — after 
the killings of Sikhs had been put into effect— that the "Sardars were 
coming to attack armed with swords and that they were just round 
the corner". This second rumour sprouted into several harmful rum- 
ours—like 'Sardars will kidnap children', 'they will attack at night'— as 
a result people became afraid of the Sikhs and parents living in several 
bastis deposited their children and their few possessions in the houses 
of their employees on November 2. In Chandhi Chowk, the police 
were the author of an interesting slogan 'Raat Hamari, Din Tumhara'. 
It might have been begun as a cynically humourous statement since the 
police, being refused a share in a big Sikh jewellery shop, had broken 
the safes in the Saraf Bazar and had helped themselves with cash and 
jewellery; later this was twisted and was supposed to have been a 
threat coming from the Sikhs— the meaning being clear. The third 
and most dangerous rumour was spread on Novenfber 1 night, round 
about 10.30, after the carnage was nearly complete in the central areas, 
that the Sardars had poisoned the drinking water. Strangers rang 
up to give the news and warned people not to drink or use the Cor- 
poration water. This had a terrific impact and worked up even a 
secular minded Hindu against his Sikh neighbour. 

In the third phase, on November 2, when trains arrived in Delhi 
with dead bodies of Sikhs, the rumour was spread that Hindus had 
been killed in Punjab and that their bodies had been brought to 
Delhi by the Jhelum Express from Punjab. It was necessary to sub- 



stitute the truth by fiction to keep up the anger against the Sikhs 
because the extermination had not as yet been completed in the Reset- 
tlement Colonies. 

While analysing the sordid episode of this genocide, one sees an 
invisible hand moving the pieces on his chessboard with remarkable 
dexterity; the most powerful teader of the local ty calls the meeting, 
allocates to different selected groups different duties— like identifica- 
tion of Sikh houses, supervision and execution of the plan; determines 
the size and the composition of the mob and the areas from where it 
should be brought, settles the payment for each killing and most 
important, decides on the sequence of the attack — the Gurudwaras 
always being the first tai get It was a double-edged strategy. To the 
killers, the Gurudwara was supposed to be the arsenal of the Sikhs 
and so the precaution had to be taken to destroy it first. To a Sikh 
the Gurudwara is the symbol of everything he stands for— his faith, 
love, courage— once the Gurudwara falls, he falls with it. It was to 
break him first morally, then physically— so also the Gurudwara was 
attacked first everywhere and then he was murdered. The slog ns were 
also selected meticulously and the rumours were carefully spread so as 
to justify the carnage. 


Nature of Violence 

What stunned every thinking person in the Capital this November 
was not merely the spread and duration, the meticulous planning and 
organisation of the violence and the controlled and instigated assault on 
the Sikhs, but more, it was the very nature of the violence, its relentl- 
essness, its unspeakable cruelty, the uninhibited sadism it displayed. It 
is not unlikely that a large number of these human monsters who par- 
ticipated in the crimes were similar to those who had been let loose a 
few months ago on the people of Nagpur, creating a reign of terror 
there. Many were the recipients of bank loans — the much-pampered 
Congress-I thugs who are immune to discipline and having powerful 
political patronage are still moving about freely; those who are sup- 
posed to be the protectors of life and property of the citizens either 
dare not touch them or are with them. 

Ajit Singh, a survivor, resident of Friend's Enclave, Rajendra 
Park, in a statement given to us in Gurumukhi has described how the 
mob was determined to do violence and to kill. "I am doing service 
in Delhi Cloth Mills. My son named Hari Singh (age 29 years) who 
was a truck-mechanic was at home on 1 11.1984 when a mob of 
1 50-200 persons armed with lathis, iron rods and bricks came here. 
First they broke all the doors of the house. We all wtre sitting in the 
room inside. On hearing the noise, we came out. Someone in the 
mob said that if we cut our children's hair, they would not harm us. 
As soon as the elder son came out, the mob attacked him on the head 
with lathis and rods. He was injured and fell down. Then they kept 
beating him. Then they attacked me and my wife. We were 
seriously wounded. Then the mob took out our things and put them 
over my son. Pouring the oil over the belongings, they set our son on 
fire. Seeing this incident we fainted. When we returned to 
our senses, the mob had retreated. Then 1 hid myself in neighbour's 
house which was being constructed. Nobody was liviBg there, 
Then I came out at the night of November 2. 



On the afternoon of 2nd November, the mob had burnt the 
household items in the room. My wife stayed at home and she 
witnessed the entire incident helplessly." 

Some recently widowed women in East Vinod Nagar narrated 
to us how on November 1, two busloads of Congress — I men clad in 
Khadi kurta and pyjama had come from UP border, ostensibly for 
'Darshan', but walked down to the colony from the highway and led 
the hoodlums already assembled there in arson and killing. The trail 
of misery left behind by these men before they departed has been des- 
cribed by Mr. Ram Jethmalani (Surya, November 1984) when he visi- 
ted that area on November 2 with a number of Supreme Court 

"As we turned into Vinod Nagar an unidentified body was 
lying across the road. A fewpassersby who were present informed 
us that the body was of a Sikh who had been shaved and burnt with 
kerosene and that he was a resident of Vinod Nagar. We made our 
way into Vinod Nagar. Charred bodies were visible in the lane- 
unmistakably of the Sikhs, the long hair had been cut and was lying 
around the bodies; iron rods had been pierced through their backs and 
they had obviously been burnt by kerosene or petrol. A male corpse 
was lying in the verandah of every house. An inconsolable woman 
with her child narrated how mobs of hundreds had entered her 
house and despite all her pleas for compassion had killed and burnt 
her husband, taken away her gold earrings and bangles and her 
clothes, utensils and radio. The mob had come from the Resettle- 
ment Colonies. Some of them were identified as belonging to the— the violence was the work of outsiders who had 

been manipulated to demonstrate their muscle power they were 

instigated by the local Congress-I elements into a frenzy of resentment 
and suspicion against the Sikhs." 


The method of killing these men also was horrendous: crying, 
their widows described the deeply moving tragic episode to 
Jethmalani, "the mob while cutting their hair jeered and mocked at 
them chanting 'mona mona mona'; they were ordered to keep dancing 
while the mob laughed wildly; it threw kerosene at them and gloated at 
their bodies burning, at the human being shrieking in horror and pain" 


The killers must have been especially selected for they meant to 
kill and came back again and agaiato verify if anyone was still alive. 
Tn Nand Nagri men were^tlragged out, mercilessly beaten, their 
heads shaved, beard sljprn, then as if it was a game of football, they 
were dashed on tjje-ground and rolled in gutters, when nearly uncon- 
scious they w*re tnrown into the flames to be be roasted alive like 

In some areas lighted slicks were held over their heads doused 
in kerosene, and they burned like human torches. Sometimes the 
methods of torture was changed and men died burning ignited limb by 

According to Jog Singh of A-I Block Nand Nagari- 14-year old 
apprentice in a factory manufacturing scooter-glass vacuum mirror, 
who had escaped death but was severely burnt— described how cruelly 
seventeen members of his joint family had been killed. Of the 
seventeen, eight were children, one of them an infant 11 months old, 
two women who were raped before being killed and seven men. 
First their houses were stoned; since they did not come out, the mob 
set fire to the house. When some came out and tried to escape they 
were caught, and one of the men was thrown into the fire, he died— 
burnt alive. The other six were beaten unconscious with iron rods; 
then four of them still unconscious, but not yet dead, were stacked on 
the seat and the floor of the rickshaw which was owned by the 
man who had already been burnt alive. The other two were dragged 
some distance with the help of ropes, one end of which was tied to 
them, the other end to the rickshaw. Finally the rickshaw was set 
ablaze alpngwith all the six men. In this Resettlement Colony the 
kerosene depot owner supplied deisel, and the policeman who was 
present there instead of controlling the mob instigated the crowd to 
arson and murder; everywhere there were Congress-f men abetting 
the killing. The weapons used were spears iron rods and lathis with 
spikes attached to them. 

In this colony the women were raped after the men were killed; 
a young girl was gangraped and the brutes pushed an iron rod up her 
vagina, she is still lying in a critical condition. In Nand Nagari there 
were these rare instances where neighbours were killers. Two women 
of this colony were involved in arson, looting and inciting the mob to 
kill their neighbours. One of the women— a nurse of flat number xxx 

Mature of violbncb 

incited her nephews to kill residents of flat No. xxx and looted the 
house with them. The other was xxxx who with her sons xxxx and 
xxxx and her daughter and, daughters-in-law looted the houses of Sikh 
residents and burnt them. 

In Trilokpuri where practically the entire Block No. 32 was 
wiped out, Vidya Kaur 30, (a pregnant woman who gave birth imme- 
diately after the violent death of her husband) in her affidavit to Delhi 
High Court which has already been filed in a writ petition, has nar- 
rated how viciously the killers went about their business. For safety 
her husband had cut his hair and as he was crossing over from the 
terrace of the house where he had taken shelter earlier to another 
neighbour's house -he when was recognised by Salim, a notorious 
criminal of the area. "He crossed over to the terrace where my husband 
was and forcibly dragged him to the adjoining terrace and beating him 
pushed him down and the mob which had collected there with their 
swords, knives, spears and iron rods and tins of kerosene fell on him 
and poured kerosene on him and burnt him.... I rushed out towards 
the street corner and to my horror saw the burning body of my hus- 
band. Salim and several others I could recognise. Meanwhile the 
mob was growing in size, marry were dancing in joy as they were 
burning people live. Some were shouting: "Where are the fresh rats? 
We will hunt them". 

According to another victim Pratap Singh (28), who used to 
run a provision store in Block 32, Trilokpuri,. and who was totally 
blinded by the shower of iron rods on his head, the mob shouted : 
'They want Khalistan— let us create Khalistan here !". The mob 
closed the exit and entrance to the lanes and destroyed the Sikhs. 

Gurdeep Kaur of Block 32/117 Trilokpuri also has in a writ 
petition in Delhi High Court, described the horrifying nature 
of the violence that destroyed her two sons, one son-in-law and 
a nephew on the morning of November I. The mob broke open 
the door of her house and pulled the 4 men out. Bhajan was hit 
on his head by an iron rod and sprinkled with kerosene and 
set on fire at the door; Man Singh was hit with a dagger and burnt; 
Gulab who had managed to hide himself in a neighbour's house 

with lathis, after which finding that he was still alive the mob 


electrocuted him.Her youngest son Pritam was hiding behind her. They 
pulled him out and dragged him to Jagga's house where he was killed. 
Before pulling him out, "the mob began pulling and tearing my 
clothes and in a little while I was standing naked. After this - they 
raped me in front of my son". 

In Hari Nagar Ashram (Chapter 11 on "The Carnage") the man 
was first dragged out, beaten up and his left thigh slashed off— the 
stench of fresh blood had drawn the street dogs and in presence of the 
gloating crowd they began to tear it and gobble up the flesh. The 
man, in indiscernable pains was doused in kerosene and burnt 

This was the nature of the violenee, unchecked and allowed to 
be committed in the Capital on men whose fathers and brothers had 
shed their blood and are still shedding for the defence of this country, 
which is as much theirs as anyone else's. 


A new diamension was added to the grim tragedy— killings on 
railway trains. Every train to Delhi on Friday (November 2, 1984) 
carried death. Scores of bodies were found in compartments 
when the trains arrived and many more were burnt on railway tracks 
and platforms on the outskirts of Delhi. (Statesman, November 
3, 1984). Col. Anand's family did not know for several days that he 
had been dragged out of the train and killed though he was in uni- 
form. Surjit Singh of Trilokpuri, a young greaser in the Railways 
never came back from Saharanpur where he had gone on duty; weeks 
later his Hindu colleagues informed his anxious parents how he along 
with three Sikh passengers had been pulled out of the train in Loni 
Road, beaten up and burnt with deisel oil. Their bodies could never 
be found. Sometimes bodies were discovered after days but never 
returned to the relatives. This happened when the battered bodies of 
Gyani Kuldip Singh and his son were found behind the AGCR's 
office. In Palam village, people saw nine Sikhs dragged out of the 
Ahmedabad Mail and hacked to pieces which were strewn all over the 
railway line. Where was the railway police or the police incharge of 
the Palam Thana? These are questions which every administration 
which is still functioning or supposed to be functioning must answer. 
And this leads us to examine the behaviour of the police and the role 
of the administration during the violence. 


Police Lawlessness 

Neither the general public nor the survivors have good 
words to say about the behaviour of the police. Acts of 
devotion to duty were few and far between and they did not 
receive the support of colleagues. According to the replies to 
our questionnaire by the victims and their neighbours in 19 riot 
atrected areas of Delhi, 86 percent of the neighbours said that the 
role of the police was very negative. A significant proportion (15 to 
30 percent) among both the categories said that the police joined 
the looting and killing. 54 percent of the victims said that no 
response came from the police when they were contacted for help. 

That the police had full knowledge of the carnage that swept 
Delhi from the morning of November 1, is documented in the form 
of FIRs lodged by the police themselves at various Police Stations 
in the capital. 

In Mongolpuri Police Station the first FIR was claimed to have 
been registered on November, 1, 1984 at 1.30 p.m. under section 147/ 
148/149/302/307/395/397/427/436 I.P.C. as No. 174 (Annexure I) but it 
was not sent to Mctropdlitan Magistrate immediately on the same 
day as required under law. Instead it was sent on November 7. 
This FIR lodged by Shri Rajinder Singh, SHO, Mangolpuri Police 
Station, states that there was strong anger and resentment among 
the residents of Delhi because of the cruel murder of Smt Indira 
Gandhi, Prime Minister of India on October 31 by two of her Sikh 
Security Guards. Therefore, on November 1 , mobs were gathering 
at several places in Mongolpuri in defiance of the law, roaming about, 
looting the houses, Gurudwaras, shops and properties of the Sikhs, 
setting them on fire and killing the Sikhs. The Mongolpuri Police 
Station had received reports of such violence from Block Nos. B. C, 
D, I, J, Q and Avantika Colony. The SHO also stated in the FIR 
that he would immediately require a gas squad, fire brigade and a 
photographer and that is why he was sending the report immediately 
to the concerned high officials through special messenger (a motor- 


The following questions are relevant in this connection :— 
L What kind of action and measures did the concerned police 
officials take in order to control the extra-ordinary situa- 
tion which they themselves noticed vide FIR No. 174 
dated 1. 11. 1984 ? 

2. Why was the police not able to mention the names of the 
victims and accused in the said FIR ? Did the victims 
refues to give such information ? And if they did give, 
why were the criminals not immediataly arrested ? 

3. What did they do to investigate the number of deaths and 
incidents of loot and arson ? 

4. Why did the police not send the copy of the said FIR No. 
174 immediately to the concerned Metroplolitan Magis- 
trate on 1.11. 1984 itself and why they sent the same to 
him on 7. 11. 1984, inspite of the fact that in the said 
FIR the police noted that the special report was being 
immediately sent to the concerned higher officials by 
special motorcycle rider ? 

5. To which higher officials was the special report sent by 
motorcycle rider raessanger and what action did they take ? 

6. In the said FIR the SHO indicated the immediate need of 
a gas-squad, fire brigade and photographer. Did he get 
these ? And if he got, how and at what places was the 
said gas squad used ? What kind of photographs did the 
police photographer take and at which places ? 

7. How is it that between 1. II. 1984 toll. 11.1984, the 
Mongolpuri Police was able to rigister only three FIRS 
i.e. FIRs No. 174 175, and 176? 

8. And if the concerned police officials did not perform their 
duties in the above matter as required under law, why 
was no action taken against them under section 217 and 
221 of the Indian Penal Code ? 

(Section 217 and 221 IPC provide punishment for public 
servants who intentionally disobey direction of the laws 
to save guilty persons and intentionally omit to arrest 


These questions are relevent for almost all the police stations 
where such riots occurred. The various facts mentioned in this 
report clearly show that the concerned police officials did not 
conduct themselves as police officials but functioned as criminals, 
and the government connived at their behaviour. 

The FIR No. 176 (Annexure 2) at Mongolpuri Police Station is 
dated 11. 11. 1984 which was lodged by one Shri Gurdip Singh, r/o 
Q-6/118, JJ Colony. Mongolpuri, Delhi. In bis report Shri Gurdip 
Singh has pathetically narrated how his two brothers Shri Kulwant 
Singh and Shri Rattan Singh were dragged out from the house and 
burnt alive on Its November 1984. He has also narrated how Smt 
Davinder Kaur, wife of Shri Kulwant Singh was raped by the 
miscreants. In his report he | has given the names and addresses of 
the miscreants and the witnesses. 

When we tried to contact Shri Gurdip Singh we found 
that he had left Delhi for Punjab. We discovered that while 
Shri Gurdip Shingh together with his family was in the Narang 
Colony Camp near Janakpuri he made various repeated efforts to 
get the police to apprehend the said miscreants who were roaming 
freely in the locality. Instead of being apprehended the miscreants 
were allowed to threaten and warn Shri Gurdip Singh and his family 
of dire consequences. Shri Gurdip Singh saw no alternative but to 
escape to Punjab with his farairay for safety. Now the fate of his 
complaint can be well gauged. This is an example of what is 
happening to similar complaints. 

In fact, one of our members visited Narang Colony camp on 
16.1.85 and several Sikh refugees showed him the copies of com- 
plaints sent by them to the police in which they had mentioned the 
names and addresses of the miscreants but still the said miscreants 
were roaming around freely as no action was being taken against 
them. Consequently these refugees were feeling apprehensive about 
their own safety. It appeared from their faces as if they were living 
in an alien land and not in their own country. 

In Sultan puri Police Station, FIR Nos. 250 (Annexure 3) and 
251 were lodged by the police themselves. FIR No. 250 is claimed to 
have been registered on November \, at 3.45 p.m. while FIR No. 25J 



is dated November 3. Both these FIRs were, however, sent to the 
concerned Metropolitan Magistrate on November 9. These FIRs are 
similar to FIR No. 174 dated November I, 1984 of Mongolpuri Police 
Sation and also speak of the intense anger and resentment of 
the people of India over the cruel murder of Smt Indira Gaodhi 
by two Sikh Security Guards and the consequent large-scale arson, 

What is significant about the above FIRs lodged by the police 
themselves is that none of them mention any names of suspects or 
criminals as a FIR should. It is most likely that they were filed 
much after the incidents, so as to cover up the gross negligence of 
the police This would explain why the FIRs reached the relevant 
Metropolitan Magistrates so late, in some cases after a week. 

In Kalyanpuri Police Station, two FIRs Nos. 422 and 423. 
were lodged by the police on November 1, 1984. The first was lodged 
at 1.30 p.m. and received by the concerned Metropolitan Magistrate 
on November 3 at 5.30 p.m. The FIR No. 422 was lodged by some 
constables who were on p Urol duty at the Pandav Magar Bus Stop. 
According to them, two or three Sikhs were indulging in argument 
with one non-Sikh at 1.30 p.m. on Nevember 1 in front of Patparganj 
Road. The non-Sikh was telling the Sikhs that they had killed "our" 
Prime Minister and, therefore, the people would take revenge on them. 
At this the Sikhs are reported to have become angry and shouted 
loudly that they would finish everyone who would try to damage 
their Gurudwara. Soon there were heated arguments. A large number 
of Sikhs and non-Sikhs began to assemble and then the two groups 
attacked each other. Inspite of the best efforts, reportedly of the 
duty constables, they could not control the angry mobs who started 
arson, burning and looting. The constables lodged the FIR seeking 
more help to control the crowd. FIR No. 423 also speak of general 
violence. It is significant that neither of these FIRs speak of any 

That the police were negligent in carrying out their duty and 
in giving due protection to the life and property of Sikhs is clearly 
revealed by FIR No. 425 lodged at Kalyanpuri Police Station on 
November 2, 1984 by the Assistant Police Commissioner of the area. 
The ACP complained against the SHO of Kalyanpuri Police Station 
and two of his colleagues, the duty officer and the motor-cycle 
rider, that these three policemen were witness to the spate of 

KH.ICB lawlessness 


incidents of loot, arson and killings on November 1 and 2 in Blocks 
32 and 34 of Trilokpuri. That the victims informed the police 
about the violence and sought protection from them. However, the 
SHO, so the complaint ran, failed to give any protection to the 
lives or property of the Sikhs, did not inform any senior police 
officials about the incidents, did not register any case against the 
criminals who had indulged in arson and killings and also did not 
make any arrest. Hence, the ACP lodged the FIR against the 
SHO under Sections 217/221 of the Indian Penal Code for not 
making any arrangement for saving the property of the Sikhs in this 

The above FIR is significant because it is not only a clever 
attempt to cover up the inhuman and brutal negligence on the part 
of Delhi Police in general, but also it is a clear attempt to find some 
scapegoats in the Jower-nmg of the police hierarchy for the criminal 
neglect displayed by the top police officials as also the political leader 
ship. On enquiry one of the suspended police officials informed that 
the lower officials had duly sent such reports of the incidents within 
time to highir officials, and they were merely made scapegoats lo 
cover up the negligence of their superiors. 

The least damaging comment on the police can be that they 
were "silent spectators" when gruesome killing or burning of Guru- 
dwaras or looting of houses and shops were taking place. In Sultan- 
puri, on the morning of November 2, when the mob set ablaze every 
house in Block C-4 and started beating and burning the male Sikhs, 
the police officers waited in the nearby lanes but did not come to 
their rescue. 

But were they really mere "silent spectators"— just apathetic, 
neutral ? We shall quote a few instances of their active involvement 
in different areas of the capital— such as Sultanpuri, Jehangirpuri, 
Trans-Jamuna, Dayanand Colony (Lajpat Nagar), Trilokpuri, East 
Vinod Nagar and New Delhi. 

SULTANPURI: The Sultanpuri SHO, accused of torturing 
Wilson, the balloon seller of F-7 jhuggis, who subsequently died, 
was no "silent spectator" when he rushed to C-3 Block to disarm 
the Sikhs and arrest them as they were resisting the attack of a 
huge mob which had already allegedly burnt the Granthi alive. A 
to have shot down the Pradhan of the 



community while two other constables are reported to have actively 
participated in the murder. 

JEHANGIRPURI : In Jebangirpuri, on the morning of 
Nevember 1 the police were heard by the victims, saying "Tumhare 
paas chbattis ghante hain. Jo karna hai, kar lo" ("You have 36 
hours. Do whatever you wish to do"). Some victims and neigh- 
bours in 'K' block, Jehangirpuri, testify to the active role of the 
police in burning down the 'K' Block Gurudwara. 

TRANS-YAMUNA (from Nanaksar Report) (I) The Officer of 
the Yamuna Puri/Yamuna Vihar Police Station went to C- Block, 
Yamuna Vihar around 4 or 4.30 p.m. on November 2, and told the 
mob that it had the rest of the evening and the night to kill the 
remaining Sikhs. 

(2) The police officials of the Khajori Police Station who 
told the mobs early morning on November 3, that they had 3 days 
to kill the Sikhs, but not still completed the job. 

(3) On November 1, four policemen on duty in Garari told a 
large crowd at around 1 1 a.m. that they had 2 days to finish all the 
Sikhs or else the Sikhs would finish them. 

(4) When the Army entered Vijay Park, Maujpur, looting was 
going on. In the mob were three polieeraen from the Seelampur 
Police Station. 

(5) On ihe morning of November 4, another police official 
of the Yamuna Vihar Police Station took a group of thugs to a 
house in Khajori Colony. He broke open the lock on th; pretext 
of searching for weapons and then allowed those hoodlums to loot 
the house. 

LAJPATNAGAR: While 26 Sikhs were rushing to the 
Dayanand Colony Gurudwara on the morning of November 1, 
for protection against a 500 strong mob, chanting slogans, 4 police- 
men were instigating the mob when they burnt down the Guruda- 
wara. These policemen were heard saying, "Delhi is burning, and 
what are you doing ?" 

TRILOKPURI : The police came, peeped in the homes in 
Block 30 and left. "Whenever people complained about killings 
for protection" writes Vidya Kaur in her affidavit, "'they asked us 
not to worry. Later the police directed the mob to where the 
Sikhs were hiding." "Ous ghar main Sardar chipe hai, nikal bahar 
karo" (Sardars are hiding in that home, drag them out). The mob 


continued pelting stones and hurJed abuses-'We will rape their 
women'. Some women addressed them as brothers and begged them, 
to spare them, they said in front of the police, "wc are not your 
brothers. We are yours husbands. We will kidnap you tonight," 
and so they did. The number of young women missing is very large ; 
the police so far have not been able to trace them. 

On the flyover joining Bhogal to Ashram— 20 policemen just 
sat on, looking, when six Sikhs were beaten to death. 

IN EAST V1NOD NAGAR ALSO When the anti-socials first 
began to assemble in the early morning of November 1, one of the 
residents who bad hidden her neighbours and saved their lives, said, 
that suddenly some police men turned up ; seeing them the mob was 
on the point of retreating when the police called them back and 
said "Why arc you going back ?" Encouraged, (he whole lot of them 
returned and waited for the Congress (U leaders to arrive by bus. 

NEW DELHI : In the case of a Sikh taxi driver killed in the 
house of DMKP Leader, Ram Bilas Paswan, the Patriot (November 
2) reported that after the crowd set fire to the house and the garage, 
"a few minutes later a jeep packed with policemen came down the 
road and the 'guardians of the law', instead of controlling the situa- 
tion, cheered and exhorted the men and sped away." 

Were the police always present either when things were 
happening and people were asking for protection 7 Did they not 
quietly disappear when to quote only one instance, the mob was 
surging forward to destroy the Trilokpuri Gurudwara in Block 36 ? 
In some of these settlement colonies, violence continued for over 
48 hours, the attackers came back again and again to verify if the 
houses bad been reduced to ashes, if the burnt man was actually 
dead. In Sultanpuri after the first attack on November 1, at 3 p.m. 
on the Gurudwara in A-4 and the killing and burning of the Granthi 
and of other male members, the mob came back again next morning, 
and those who survived were killed in a subsequent attack. Would 
such verifications and constant visits by hundreds of hoodlums have 
been possible if the police had been there ? But sometimes their 
presence helped the criminals as it did in Sultanpuri where along 
wiih the criminals the police removed the bodies of the dead and 
every evidence of the crimes. The bodies were not handed over to 
the relatives— all their requests were refused. It is still not known 



how their bodies were disposed of. These actions were taken deli- 
berately, in order to minimize the number of dead reported to the 

On Thursday, November 1, Shri M.M K. Wali, the then Home 
Secretary who is now Delhi's Lt. Governor, said that the number of 
people dead in the country was 10 of which 5 were in Delhi (Times 
of India, 2nd November). On that day police sources put the 
figure at 35 killed in the East District or Delhi alone. (Indian 
Express, 2nd November). On Thursday itself Shri Wali is reported 
to have expressed confidence that by Friday evening, Novembe 2, 
the situation would be brought under control. He was of the view 
that passions roused get spent in two days. (Indian Express, 2nd 
November). On Sunday, November 4, Shri Wali said, "the situation 
is much better. I hope it will be totally controlled by the night." 
On being pressed he gave the official figure as being -.58 dead. That 
day, the mortuary had taken on a grisly appearance with bodies piled 
high on four trucks after the tpace inside was filled (Statesman, 5th 
November). Shri Wali said on Monday, Noucmber 5, that the 
Press was giving exaggerated accounts of the death toll and incidents 
but on November 6, he announced the number of the deaths to be 
599 (Patriot, 7th November). On November 11, however, the 
Hindustan Times published a tabic giving the official number of those 
killed in Delhi as 325. 

The exact figure of the dead will never be known— all that one 
can see is the disconsolate widows whose number is not less than 
1300 and 4000 desolate orphans. 

But perhaps the cooperative, rather protective and encouraging 
attitude of the police vis-a-vis the criminals has some logical explan- 
tion— such as unwritten orders from their political patrons to give 
green signals to the miscreants to go ahead and then give them 
support. "Whether there were political instructions not to imple- 
ment curfew restrictions imposed on Friday, November 2, in earnest 
to allow the 'darshan' at Teen Murli or not is unclear", commented 
the Statesman (3rd November), but the general consensus among 
public, everywherc-cspecially after the non-implementation of the 
curfew order and the shoot-at-sight order— was that 'Saikai kara 
rahi hain' ('the Government is behind this violence') while the mis- 
creants were openly bragging "Police hamate saalh hai" ( The police 
is with us'). Even the 'deployment' of para-military forces of the 

Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) and the Border Security 
Force (BSF) announced by the Government on Wednesday evening 
were no where to be seen. "I have called CRPF and BSF control 
rooms every 10 minutes", said a duly officer at the Nizamuddin 
Police Station, "but each time 1 am told that there is nothing that 
can be done." Indian Express, November 2). 

So everything was done leisurely— the killing, the arson, the 
looting ; liquor flowed like water, tea was served to the 'vigilant' 
police silting on their stools, jokes were shared, there was a lot of 
laughter and glee, trucks came and went loaded with booty— des- 
patcheJ unhurriedly to safe places— car loads of well-dressed men 
stopped for a while to supervise if things were going according to 
plan. To a real 'silent spectator' walking helplessly it was like a 
slow motion shooting of a gory film. 

It will be only fair" to quote an important police officer (name 
not to be mentioned) lhat whenever instructions were sought for 
from above, there was silence. There was one lone police officer in 
Pandav Nagar called Vinod Sharma whose name was mentioned with 
deep gratitude by the relatives of victims ; and because he had 
behaved. as a police officer is expected to, he was summarily removed. 
The fact that 20 percent of Delhi Police-who happened to be Sikh-was 
removed and locked up during the entire period of the violence, was 
a clear indication to the police of Delhi how to deal with the Sikhs. 
The execuse for this action was thai the Sikh police-men were not 
safe, hence it is for their safety ihey had been put away. This brings 
to mind the 'police protection that had been ordered for Jaiprakash 
Narain ; wherever he went— even when he was in his own house- 
the police had to be there "to protect' him from the 'hostile people'. 

There is no disputing the fact that ihe administration 
had collapsed during that period : the emergency telephones calling 
the police and the (ire brigade never replied ; the looting went on un- 
checked ; the power connection had been cut off in Trilokpuri so that 
the women could be raped in darkness, no D£SU man could be con- 
tacted to set the line right ; there was none in the Delhi Municipal 
Corporation's Water Supply Office to reply to .anxious questions jf 
the water had really been poisoned ; shops and markets remained 
closed all the 4 days ; in several localities no milk was available, nor 
bread ; even as it is Delhi has been a very unsafe place especially for 
women but these days wilh hundreds of bad characters roaming 



around with no policemen in sight there was a feeling of instability 
and grave insecurity even if he was a Hindu belonging to the majority 
community. It was total chaos. 

One shudders to think what would have happened if some 
wicked foreign power had chosen any of those days to attack Delhi - 
the capital of India. 

The police Commissioner having all the powers under the 
statute to pass orders for shooting down miscreants, stood helplessly 
by like any civilian and saw the big Gurudwara in Sadar Bazar 
burning. Distressed, when he rushed to consult the Lt. Governor of 
Delhi, this high official could not summon necessary courage to 
impose curfew and waited till Rajiv Gandhi gave his clearance- 
According to the Statesman, a proposal to impose curfew in the city 
was made shortly before noon ; until 6 p.m., Thursday, November 
1, no decision was taken because no decision could be taken unless 
cleared by Mr. Rajiv Gandhi (The Statesman, November 3). 

The people have been realising with a sudden shock the rot 
that had set in during the last 10 years and the depth of the damage 
in the system of our administration. When the one person alone 
holds the reins of control and all power is concentrated in one hand 
and nothing is expected to move wilhout orders coming from that 
one source of power, it is only natural that the vast and expensive 
machinery of the Government should get rusted, and there would be 
a total degeneration in the system of governance which has become 
an abnormal monolith. 

It did not require a seasoned administrator to realise that day 
that priority demanded the presence of the largest possible contingent 
of police force in those localities where there was anarchy and not in 
front of the Teen Murti House in such numbers. It is also worth 
noting (Patriot, November 1) that "one Army brigade consisting of 
8000 men and another 1000 personnel from the Navy and Air force 
were to line the route o. the funeral." So there was no shortage of 
cither army or police personnel. But only a three-men police force 
arrived in the secluded colony of Trilokpuri around 6 p.m. on 
November 2, despite repeated information of the carnage to the 
authorities. It could do little to dispel the palpable menace in the 
air. (Indian Express, November 3). 



It was not the police constables alone, all the high officials 
from the Commissioner of Police to the ACPs were concentrated in 
the Teen Murti House. 

At Thursday's wireless log, Police Commissioner Mr. Subhash 
Tandon's day was spent at the following places— Teen Murti 
Bhavan, Police Headquarters, Raj Bhawan and back to Police Hqrs. 
(The Statesman, November 3). While the Additional Police Commis- 
sioner, Mr. Gautam Kaul, was at Teen Murti till about noon — 
borne out by the log book as well as Doordarshan Cameras. In 
the afternoon be visited Gurudwara Rakabganj and the house of a 
colleague attacked by a mob in Mahadev Road. In the evening he 
attended meetings. (The Statesman, November 3). 

That going round the troubled city— particularly visiting again 
and again the far flung Resettlement Colonies— was an integral part 
of the Police work which was totally forgotten. The capital was 
virtually handed over to the goondas, the mafias and the criminals- 
it was their raj for full 4 days. 


Was It a 'Communal' Riot ? 

Nearly two months and a half after the holocaust, one can 
assert with confidence that unlike the Calcutta killing of 1946 and 
the killing during the partition of the country, the recent killing in 
Delhi vvas not the outcome of communal hatred. It has, indeed, 
brought out the worst ia certain human beings after they had been 
instigated ; but it has clearly and spontaneously brought out the 
finest in others. 

On the evening of November 1, one of our members went to 
Lajpat Nagar-11 to inquire about one of his Sikh friends. When 
he tried to enter Lajpat Nagar from the Defence Colony side, he saw 
barricades and some youngmen at the entrance who did not allow 
our member to enter the colony. There were some burnt vehicles 
and shops. On persuation, those youngmen allowed our member to 
enter. When our member moved in a lane on left side, he saw two 
Sikhs moving about freely, among others. He inquirrcd from one 
Sikh as to what was the situation there. The Sikh replied there were 
some lootings anil burning in the main market and on the main 
roads in the morning and all the residents were bewildered and con- 
fused upto afternoon as they did not know from where and how the 
outsiders came and committed all the mischief. But since afiernoon 
the residents, all Hindus and Sikhs together, had organised themselves 
into joint defence committees and had decided not to allow any 
outsider inside the colony or do any mischief. Our member then 
went to the house of his Sikh friend who told him that the miscreants 
had tried to enter the colony but the residents had repulsed them 
with joint efforts. He further told our member that the Hindu 
youngmen he saw at the entrance were members of the joint defence 
committee and were guarding the colony. 

The above instance was not a solitary one. Furiher investiga- 
tion revealed that such joint defence committees had spontaneously 
sprung up in various localities. These acts of communal harmony 
and courage were not few, as The times of India dated November 3 ; 
1984 rightly reported i 

was rr a 'communal' riot ? 


"...Hindus in colony after colony decided to form their 
own protection squads against the gangs of plunderers that 
were running amuck. 

"Disgusted at the utter failure of the police and the govern- 
ment to protect the lives and properties of innocent Sikhs. 
Hindus assured their Sikh neighbours that they had nothing 
to fcnr and patrolled the areas throughout the night. 
"Some of the colonies where such squads were formed were 
in Tilak Nagar, Hari Nagar. Shiv Nagar and Janalcpuri in 
West Delhi. 

"There was an ironical situation that developed around B-2 
block of Safdarjang Enclave last night when two volunteer 
groups from the Janata colony nearby .almost clashed with 
one anolher mistaking one anolher to be hooligans. Both 
groups were patrolling the areas armed with lathis. Some of 
the men wore scooter helmets. But just as they were about 
to attack one another, some CRPF men on duty at the spot 

raised their guns to fire. Tt was then that the groups realised 
that thsy had the same aim of protecting houses and shops 

from des'>erate raiders. 

"Irate residents, both Hindus and Sikhs told reporters that 
none of the people who attacked their houses and shops 
seemed to be from their own colonics. In fact they were 
not even of communal nature. They seemed to have only one 
objective— that of looting their establishments. The 
plunderers looked the type of people who lived in villages 
and resettlement colonies and were highly organised. 
"In fact their operations seemed to be so well planned out 
that they knew exactly which shops and houses in a parti- 
cular colony were owned by Sikhs and, what is more, even 
which vehicles. As soon as residents got over the initial 
shock of the attacks and realised that the police could not be 
relied upon at all despite all the assurances that were being 
broadcast both on All India Radio and Doordarshan they 
decided to protect the Sikhs themselves. 
"In the government colony of Sadiq Nagar where some 
petrified Sikh families had shut themselves up, Hindus went 


over to their houses to reassure them and offered them food. 
"A Sikh who went over to a West Delhi colony to rescue his 
'niece' was absolutely stunned when he found that a group 
of Hindus belonging to a particular party was already 
protecting her. They told him to let her stay there as she 
was secure." 

The report gave further description of similar activities in 
various other colonies. 

A team of Supreme Court advocates including V.M. Tarkunde, 
Ram Jethamalani, Soli Sorabji, Ranjan Dwivedi and others visited 
five affected colonies of Trans- Jamuna on November 1 and 2. In 
all the localities the neighbours of the victims told the same story— 
that they wanted to save and protect their Sikh bretherns but were 
helpless against the highly organised mobs having superiority in 

In Kalkaji, Hindu and Muslim neighbours helped in salvaging 
valuables from the burning gurudwara because they all respected it 
as a place of worship. Thousands of Sikhs have been saved by their 
Hindu friends at the risk of their being killed and their own houses 
being set on fire by the threatening mobs. 

It is interesting that the poorest of the poor, the much maligned 
jbuggi-jhopari dwellers, at the request of the Sikhs, kept with them in 
safe custody some of the articles which could be salvaged after the 
burning of Sikh houses. With the renewed rumours of outbreak of 
violence before the election-day they asked the Sikhs to remove 
those articles elsewhere as they felt they were marked men and 
this time the goondas would attack them andjeverything saved would 
be lost. 

According to replies to the questionnaires sent to neighbours 
in 19 different affected areas of Delhi 72 percent said that the first 
news of the violence they received was that Sikhs were being attack- 
ed ; 58 percent of them tried to contact their Sikh friends and 
neighbours ; a similar percentage (59 percent) of the neighbours said 
that they tried to help the Sikhs in various ways and suffered threats 
in the process. 34 percent gave them shelter in their own houses, 
28 percent provided food, medicine, clothes etc., 12 percent of the 
neighbours contacted, visited relief camps and organised peace 
committees, another 12 percent informed the police about the 


violence. 68 percent of the victims questioned 'said that their 
neighbours came to their rescue. 

In several refugee camps all the survivors said that (he violence 
was not communal but, many said, that it was instigated. To our 
question if he felt it was a communal violence, Jeet Singh— a survivor 
in the Pandav Nagar Gurudwara who had lost everything and every- 
one excepting his little son-simply said, "No, no, not communal, a 
Brahmin couple has taken my little boy to live with them. In 
Janakpuri camp an old man said, "It was the local bad characters or 
in many cases political workers who pointed the houses and property 
of our community. (Statesman, November 4, 1984). Some would say, 
"'My mother was Hindu, or "my brother has married a Hindu" 
or "m one family, we have Hindus and Sikhs. All these people had 
completely ruled out the riot as communal. 

In Trilokpuri-one of the worst-hit areas— it was the 5 Muslim 
houses in block 32 which stood as buffer between the killers and the 
Sikhs and it was Kadir, a Muslim, who saved the life of Joginder 
Singh (See Chapter II) at a great personal risk. In Vinod Nagar 
East also it was a Hiraachal Pradesh Hindu who dragged the taxi 
driver and his kids out virtually from the jaws of death. It was 
again a brave Hindu woman being completely alone, who hid her 
neighbours so cleverly and with such presence of mind that the mob 
which entered her house in search of the Sikhs and examined the 
photographs of her husband and daughter to verify that she herself 
was not a Sikh, could not find there prey and left but came again 
and again to check up but failed every time. The tension she had 
gone through was clear on her face, but to her joy the people she 
had saved were all sitting aroun her. All such instances of neighbourly 
compassion made a veteran Police Officer remark, "in true communal 
riot, the neighbours would have taken part. Thousands would have 
died. There is mOre looting than killing." About looting there is 
an interesting observation by another Police Officer, "Achha mal sab 
upar, Baki dikhane ke liye" (The good stulf goes upstairs. The rest 
is put on display). The connection between the upar (above) and 
niche (down below) becomes clear from the following episode report- 
d by the Indian Express. "Over 300 people suspected to have 
looted-the property have been rounded up by the General district 
police. The Congress-I leaders including the local M.P., Mr. Dharm 
Das Shastri came to the Karol Bagh Police Station to protest against 
the police action." (Indian Express, November 6, 1984). 


Some would concede— "Yes, there were Hirdu neighbours 
who pointed us out to the killers, scire looted and burnt our houses. 
But they did that not because tley weic Hindus or Muslims and we 
were Sikhs. They wanted our things— radios, videos, watches or 
some foreign gadgets some of us had." 

One of the characteristics of a con.munal riot is that it micht 
flare up suddenly on some small pretext but it never stops as sudden- 
ly as the violence in Delhi did. No one on earth can control inflamed 
passions of hatred once they begin to rage in human hearts or stop 
two or more warring communities from drawing blood ; even when 
the intensity of the riot gets less it never completely subsides, and 
erupts sporadically in some corner or other for days together and 
takes its own time to die down. Secondly, no communal riot is one- 
sided. In the Delhi violence, the Sjkbs handed over their kirpans 
and knives to the police officers both in Sultanpuri as well as 
Mongolpuri : as a result they were butchered— completely defenceless 
as they were returning home from the thana They themselves gave 
their weapons, all in good faith, to their neighbours in Trilokpuri 
who had visited them late on 31st October night to advise them not 
to take out the Prabhat Pheri next morning. All knew that was one 
of the essential features of observing Guru Nanak's birthday. Those 
man were slaughtered next morning with those very kripans and 
knives. Whenever they have tried to defend themselves or protect 
their gurudwaras. they were either killed or arrested on the plea that 
they were indulging in communal behaviour. What were the weapons 
for — if not to be used for self-defence ! 

That the violence did not take a communal turn was not 
because of lack of effort to give it that colouring. All the rumours 
were directed to that end. Those who have been striving after a 
Hindu Rashtra were active. There was a letter from Hindu 
Suraksha Samity dated 27 October ^984 addressed to "Dear 
Sardaron" which was shown to a volunteer by an important person 
of the Balasheb Gurudwara ; it held out the threat of forcible shav- 
ing of head and beard so that Sikh might be converted into Hinduism 
as a retaliation for shooting down the Hindus in Punjab. There was 
the story narrated to us by some distinguished Sikh families in M.G. 
High School Camp of the eerie voice exhorting all Hindus to 'arise, 
awake and kill" (Utho, jago, maro) every midnight iri Shivaji Park 
area weeks before the violence erupted. 



But after the Violence, these votaries of communab'sm— though 
few in number— may claim some success. For example, in the walled 
city, looting and burning of shops did take place on the main roads, 
but the houses, the shops and families of the Sikhs remained intact 
inside the mohallas and lanes. However, our members noted with 
heavy heart that soon after the riots, heavy iron doors were imme- 
diately constructed at the entrance of every mohalla or lane which 
opened at the backside of Gurudwara Sisgunj in -Kinari Bazar, 
Chandni Chowk. The mohallas in Dariba also put up iron gates. On 
the other hand, the backside wall of Gurudwara Sisgunj, which used 
to be only six feet high before the riots, rose to about 14 feet high 
soon after. No wonder, our government seems to be quite adept 
in promoting disharmony, disunity and disintegration. 

As if all. these were not enough, the highly communal Congress- 

I advertisements were issued against, the Sikhs. These might satisfy 
the Hindus longing for a Hindu Rashtra and capture some Hindu 
votes— but they might also light the flame of a true communal 


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Police Station : Mangol Puri Distt. West 

No. 176/84 : Date and hour of occurrence : 1.11. 84 at 6.20 p.m. 

1. Date and hour when reported D.D. No. 18, d/1 1.1 1.84 at 

6.20 p.m. 

2. Name and residence of infor- gj|FV afR^ ^ft^ &(Vl%t ga?5p|>T 
mant and complainant. anfSRPT «n*rr THF $ *ftffif 

«ptpt jr^ta fa??, ft. n^. 
6/ 1 1 8 ^r^-ffY, wnta^ft, 

3. Brief description of Offence 
(with section) and of pro- 
perty carried off, if any. 

4. Place of occurrence and dis- 
tance from Police Stn. 

5. Name and address of Crimi- 

6. Steps taken regarding investi- 
gation explanation of delay 
in recording information. 

7. Date and time of despatch 
from Police Station. 

u/s 147/148, 149/302, 307/ 
395, 427/276 P.C. 
25/27, 54/59 A. Act 


No Delay 

By special messenger 

Signed : Sant Ram 9.25 Designation : HC/Duty 

Metropolitan Magistrate 


NOTE : The signature or seal or thumb impression of the informer 
should be at the end of the Lnformotion and the signature 
of the writer of (FIR) should be existed as usuaj, 


The Deputy Commissioner of Police, West, SH, Tilak Nagar, 
New Delhi-18 subject : Penal action against persons involved or 
directly responsible for the murder of Shri Kulwant Singh and 
Rattan Singh, r/o Q 6/119 Mangolpuri, J.J. Colony, Delhi -83 and 
rape of Mrs. Davinder, w/o Shri Kulwant Singh on 1.11.84. Sir, 
my two brothers late S. Kulwant Singh and S. Rattan Singh were 
murdered by the following persons on 1.11.84 at exft of our house 
No. Q. 6/119 J.J. Colony, Mangolpuri, Dilhi— 83, in the presence of 
mine and of Smt. Gurmit Kaur and Smt. Davinder Kaur. We are 
the witnesses of these heinous crimes (1) Kalia, scooter driver, Gali 
No. 6, H. No, Block Q, Mangolpuri, New Delhi— 83, (2) Suma Ram 
Kerosene Oil Depot Holder, Qu. No. 10, Block O, Mangolpuri, 
Delhi-83, (3) Shankar, G:ili No. 7, Block, Mangolpuri, Delhi-83, 
(4) Shambhu and his brother whose name not known but can be 
identified and run a tea shop in. market 2, Block Q, Mangolpuri, 
Delhi-83, (5) Two persons whose father is a vegetable vender and 
resides in Gali No. 8, Block Q. Mangolpuri, whose names not known 
but can be identified, (o) Govardhan, Gali No. 4, Block Q, Mangol- 
puri, Delhi-83. All the above mentioned persons attacked us with 
arms, dragged my brothers, one by one outside the house, attacked 
them and after inflicting grevious injuries to these persons, poured 
kerosene oil or some other iuflamable and burnt them alive. Apart 
from these henious crimes. Shri Shanti who runs a tador shop in 
Gali No. 5, Block O, Mangolpuri, accompanied by 4 other persons 
whose names are not known but can be identified by the victim 
Smt. Davinder Kaur, w/o Kulwant Singh, criminally assaulted 
Smt. Davinder Kaur, on so far as Smt. Davinder Kaur is concerned, 
she herself and a number of ladies in whose presence this crime 
was committed can give their evideuce. Shrimati Davinder 
Kaur was criminally assaulted by these people under duress 
and threat of murder. I am a responsible social and religious 
minded person. I have been the President of Gurudwara Shri 
Govind Singh Sabha, R— Block, Mangolpuri, for the last five 
years. I, therefore, have made this written statement with full 
responsibility and with all the sincerity to Law as I have been 
throughout my life a law-abiding person. I, therefore, pray that 
case under appropriate criminal act be registered against these 
people and their arrest be immediately effected to meet the ends of 
justice. Thanking you, Yours faithfully, sd/Urdu (Gurdip Singh), 
R/o H. No. Q-6, J. J. Colony, Mangolpuri, DJhi-83 Dated 1 1/11/84 



Duty Officer, P. S. Mangolpuri : Please register a case u/s 147/148 
149/302/395/397/436/427/376, PC, 25/27,54/59 A. Act and invest- 
igation be entrusted to Shri Madan Lai : sd/English, R. S. Dahiya, 
SHO, M. Puri, Dated 1 1/1 1/84 at 6.20 p.m. 

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